Sushi Chef Shine Tamaoki Brings His Passion for Sushi to the West Side of Knox-Henderson
Dallas’ Knox-Henderson area has recently welcomed a new addition to its bustling dining scene: Pearl, a sushi restaurant led by the talented Japanese chef Shine Tamaoki. Born in Yamanashi, Japan, Tamaoki grew up splitting his time between his home country and his father’s horse training ranch in Colorado. Eventually, his father established a ranch near Dallas, prompting Tamaoki to move to North Texas for high school. He later pursued a business degree at the University of North Texas, but his true passion for sushi led him on a different path.
During his college years, Tamaoki worked at a small mom-and-pop shop, where he honed his skills in sushi-making. However, it was his subsequent seven-year stint at Nobu Dallas that truly ignited his passion for the craft. Tamaoki realized that sushi was his comfort zone within the culinary world, and he was determined to share his love for sushi with others.
Pearl aims to cater to both sushi enthusiasts and novices alike. Tamaoki’s business partner, lawyer Todd Landis, frequently traveled to Japan for work, often bringing his young daughter Naomi along. Naomi, initially new to sushi, gradually developed a fondness for it through Tamaoki’s creations. Tamaoki would ensure that every time Naomi visited the restaurant, he would have a new fish prepared for her to try. This shared experience forged a special bond between Tamaoki and Naomi, and it inspired him to create an inclusive dining space where people of all ages could explore the world of sushi.
In order to make the food at Pearl approachable, Tamaoki pays special attention to its visual appeal. He believes that food, particularly raw fish, should look enticing without being overly extravagant. Moreover, Tamaoki experiments with heat, acidity, and Japanese ingredients to enhance the flavors of the fish. Although the full menu is yet to be unveiled, Pearl will feature a selection of rolls, including a wagyu miso cream cheese roll dedicated to Tamaoki’s business partner, who hails from Philadelphia. It’s worth noting that this is the only cream cheese-based roll you’ll find at Pearl. Tamaoki also plans to incorporate flavors from his hometown of Yamanashi, renowned for its luscious peaches, plums, and grapes. Oysters and sashimi dishes will be among the highlights, keeping the ingredient list minimal to emphasize the freshness of the fish, sourced from Japan, New Zealand, and both the east and west coasts of the United States. Tamaoki plans to elevate the flavors using a touch of heat and olive oil.
The beverage program at Pearl will be overseen by Tamaoki’s wife, Kaya. With seven years of experience at Tei-An, she will curate a selection of cocktails, including the White Pearl—a vodka-based concoction featuring lychee puree, lime juice, elderflower syrup, egg white, and plum bitters. The restaurant itself offers a sushi bar accommodating up to nine people, along with tables for larger groups. While omakase will be featured once a month, guests are welcome to request it any day of the week. Additionally, Tamaoki plans to utilize the window on the side of the building, facing McKinney Avenue, for convenient to-go orders.
The arrival of Pearl adds to the already thriving Japanese dining scene in Dallas. The city boasts a variety of options, ranging from omakase concepts like Tatsu and Yūjō, to upscale spots like Uchi and Namo, as well as casual sushi restaurants like Oishii and Mr. Sushi. The demand for sushi in Dallas is undeniable, and Pearl is ready to make its mark on the scene.
Located at 4640 McKinney Ave., Unit 130, Pearl is now open for reservations on their website. As a newcomer to Dallas’ Japanese dining landscape, Pearl aims to delight and captivate sushi lovers and newcomers alike with its inviting atmosphere and delectable creations.