The last thing the East Aldine community needs is another Tex-Mex restaurant.

Venues for chips, salsa, queso, tamales, enchiladas, fajitas, beans and rice are as widespread there as Houston’s humidity and as frequent as late summer afternoon thunderstorms.

Sushi Tex-Mex, a month-old restaurant owned by long-time East Aldine chef Luis H. Velez, adds a breath of fresh air to the traditional neighborhood fare. His place at 2333 Aldine Mail Route Road features the lighter Japanese-influenced local favorites he served from a popular food truck, which went by the same name.

A native of the Acapulco area of Mexico, Velez worked for more than 20 years in traditional Japanese sushi restaurants. About five years ago, he began experimenting with the flavors of Mexico, offering his specialties from the truck on Aldine Westfield Road.

“In Japanese sushi, they don’t use the flavors I use, like lemon, cilantro, jalapeño. So that’s why my sushi is different from the others,” Velez said. “We have the banana roll, the mandarin roll. Our rolls are very different from the traditional sushi roll.”

Velez adds lemon to soy sauce, with thinly sliced jalapeños and cilantro, as a dipping sauce for his sushi rolls.

“It’s different, but my customers seem to like it,” Velez said.

He also says his food is “maybe” a little more healthy than traditional Tex-Mex cuisine.

Think chili relleno stuffed with seafood, cream cheese, cilantro, and a hint of jalapeño. Think lightly battered coconut shrimp, served with a side of fried rice with crispy steamed broccoli, zucchini, and carrots.

The new restaurant is located in the same strip shopping center that features the popular Hippo Burger and Dulce Tentacion, a Mexican drinks and desserts spot. All three restaurants have access to a lovely courtyard for outside dining.

They are located just “a stone’s throw” from the East Aldine Management District’s Town Center.

Sushi Tex-Mex is subtly decorated with light gray walls, teal-colored chairs and wall hangings featuring sushi posters and wood-carved swimming fish.

The extensive menu includes sushi-style tuna, salmon, yellowtail, crab, shrimp, squid, octopus, smelt roe and freshwater eel. The seafood is served with Japanese sushi sauces, flavored with Mexican favorites like cilantro, avocado, cucumbers and, in one case, hot Cheetos.

The dessert menu—perhaps not as healthy as the rest of the menu — includes bananas tempura, Oreos tempura, an ice cream roll and cheesecake.

Velez’ food truck customers have followed him to his new location. During a recent busy lunch hour, long-time customer Jazmin Gutierrez stopped in for a take-out picnic lunch with her 10-year-old daughter. She said she and her family had been visiting the Velez’ food truck for years.

Velez said he’s pleased that his customers have followed him to his brick-and-mortar café.

“The old place was only four minutes from here, so my customers keep coming,” he said.

Sushi Tex-Mex
2333 Aldine Mail Route Rd.
11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-11 p.m. weekends.

— By Anne Marie Kilday