Steak & Sushi Restaurant With “Immersive Design” Coming to Upper Kirby

A rendering of Haii Keii's dining room

Haii Keii, a new steak and sushi restaurant, is coming to 3300 Kirby and is anticipated to open this summer. It is owned by Jag Hospitality, a new business founded by chef Jeff Auld and Jarred Tosto

The owners are industry veterans who gained some of their most-significant experiences in other leading food cities. Auld owned and operated three restaurants in Chicago, including Jane’s, which ran for 22 years before it was closed in 2017. Auld also worked for chef Alessandro Stratta, whose namesake restaurant in Las Vegas, Alex, earned two Michelin stars before closing. After relocating to Houston, Auld has racked up local experience at several places, including On The Kirb, Brix Wine Cellars and Juliet. He additionally operated a food truck called Pearl’s House

Tosto’s career includes being wine director at Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena, California before moving on to Lazy Ox Canteen in Los Angeles. Afterward, he reached a goal of working for a Michelin-starred restaurant when taking an assistant manager role at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT Steakhouse, a one-star recipient for three different years. He then worked as a senior manager at Mastro’s in Beverly Hills for two years. After relocating to Houston, he, like Auld, worked at Juliet. Tosto’s role was director of operations. 

Notable Houston restaurant designer Gin Design Group is working on the interior look — and it sounds like it will be a visual stunner. Gin Design Group’s founder and creative director Gin Braverman says working with Auld to develop the space has been “wild” and that they’ve tapped dynamic local artists and artisans for the project. 

Haii Keii is an experiential immersion,” she said. “Japanese influences inform the design and the menu, but there is much more at play. Guests will enter a dimly-lit shimmering vestibule and pass through a long corridor weaving around illuminated acrylic art panels. They’ll emerge into a two-story space where shadows of geishas flicker behind overscale shoji screens and a giant bonsai tree in cherry red and turquoise hangs inverted over the glowing, gold, U-shaped bar. Thousands of linear feet of red silk rope partition the intimate dining nooks. The intimate private dining room on the mezzanine overlooks the scene through a full-height circular glass window.”

Haii Keii’s planned dishes will offer both Chinese and Japanese cuisine, including Peking duck, Wagyu beef and, of course, sushi. Additional details, such as dishes, drinks and key staff members, such as chefs or beverage professionals, are still to come and will surely be released as the opening date approaches. 

Comments (0)

Share Your Thoughts on This Article