Group Behind Loch Bar Readies New Restaurant for River Oaks District

A rendering of the exterior of Azumi, a modern Japanese restaurant coming to River Oaks District in Houston

Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group, which closed its initial River Oaks District restaurant Ouzo Bay in May, is solidifying plans for a replacement. The new place in the upscale center at 4444 Westheimer will be Azumi, a modern Japanese restaurant. According to a press release, the name means “safe harbor”.

As was the case for its predecessor, it will be next door to Atlas Restaurant Group’s Loch Bar. Azumi, a second location of the original in Baltimore, is anticipated to open this spring. The group has also hired Timur Fazilov as “Concept Chef of Asian Cuisine.” He is overseeing the menus of both restaurants. Fazilov’s prior experience includes working as executive chef at Masaharu Morimoto’s eponymous restaurant in Qatar and as brand executive chef at Sa’Moto in Miami. 

"Concept Chef of Asian Cuisine" Timur Fazilov of Atlas Restaurant Group
“Concept Chef of Asian Cuisine” Timur Fazilov of Atlas Restaurant Group. Courtesy photo.

“Chef Fazilov’s unparalleled experience and industry-leading expertise in the art of modern Asian and fusion cuisine, paired with his drive to continue redefining the boundaries of gastronomic innovation, make him the perfect person for this role,” said Alexander Smith, President and CEO of Atlas Restaurant Group. “We are incredibly excited to see what Chef Fazilov and our dynamic, talented culinary team will accomplish together with him at the helm.”  

Azumi will focus on sushi made with seafood flown in from the famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. While specifics of the Houston dishes have not been released, the Baltimore menu might provide some hints of what’s to come. It includes omakase experiences at three price points, chef’s choice selection of 12 types of nigiri, fusion tacos filled with fish such as otoro (a prized, marbled cut from blue tuna belly) and yellowtail, and a very luxurious, expensive 22-ounce, bone-in Miyazaki Wagyu. Hot entrées also include Miso Black Cod, Spicy Beef Tenderloin and Grilled Spanish Bronzino. Cocktails are infused with Asian ingredients such as yuzu and green tea, and there is a sake and wine list as well as a happy hour.

A rendering of the bar and dining room of forthcoming Houston Japanese restaurant Azumi
A rendering of the bar and dining room of forthcoming Houston Japanese restaurant Azumi. Courtesy image.

In preparation for Azumi’s opening, Baltimore interior designer Patrick Sutton has retooled the former Ouzo Bay space with lots of golden-toned wood to evoke “high style and warmth.” Combined, the dining room, sushi bar and omakase room will seat 130, while the terrace will seat an additional 78. 

“I have had the privilege of working with a countless number of talented chefs and industry professionals and with each new venture, I’ve intentionally sought out opportunities that would challenge me to evolve,” said Fazilov via a press release. “I am thrilled to start my next chapter with Atlas and to be a part of a culture where creativity is celebrated and chefs are encouraged to continue pushing the envelope to deliver the unexpected. When a commitment to quality and innovation are at the forefront of what you do, the sky’s the limit.” 

We expect additional announcements in the near future, including the opening date, operating hours and Houston location food menu and drink list. 

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