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How Anchor Sushi Bar Strives For Excellence

The sushi restaurant is approaching its one-year anniversary
Photo: Brian Ashcraft / Local Profile

Modern or traditional. Either seems to be the go-to interior design for a sushi restaurant. And both are fine, but Anchor Sushi Bar is aiming for something else entirely. 

Bless them for that.

At the Preston Hollow location, the interior is nautical — boat-like, yes — but with plaid carpeting and plush leather booths. The walls are covered with Sean Connery-signed photos. Glorious, I think. 

At the bar, I order a saketini — a drink that is deceptively complicated to make because sake, a brewed beverage, has a lower alcohol-by-volume percentage compared to distilled drinks like vodka, gin or whisky. Saketinis often end up lopsided, but this is a Vandelay Hospitality Group restaurant, and they are known for their martinis. And you know what? Chilled, lush and balanced, this is one of the best saketinis I'd had. Ever. 

It's not just the martinis that sets Anchor Sushi Bar apart. As the restaurant approaches its year anniversary, Vandelay Hospitality Group brought in chef Kesao Otake to oversee both its Dallas restaurants. Previously at Sushi Sake, Otake also worked at Michelin-starred Nozawa Bar in Beverly Hills as well as kitchens in California, Moscow, China, France and, yes, Japan.

"The relationships he has in Japan give us access to the quality of fish rarely found in Texas."

"I've been here since the beginning, and our sushi is the best it's ever been," server Emily DeSantis says, as she brings a selection of the chef's nigiri. The sushi at Anchor was always good. Vandelay Hospitality Group thought it could be even better. You see that with their martinis, which have been tested and perfected. And now, we are seeing that with their sushi. 

"I recruited chef Kesao because I have long been a huge fan of Sushi Sake, where he came from in Richardson," Hunter Pond, owner of Vandelay Hospitality Group, previously said in an official statement. "I think it is a top sushi establishment in Texas, and when we were looking for the position to lead Vandelay’s sushi department, he interviewed and simply wowe’d me with his depth of knowledge and execution. The relationships he has in Japan give us access to the quality of fish rarely found in Texas."

That relationship is immediately apparent in the fish Anchor Sushi Bar is serving, whether that's the nigiri or rolls. 

But this continual quest for improvement is why Vandelay has been so successful, with an extensive portfolio of loved restaurants to prove it. It's one of the North Texas groups that loyal diners follow. And for good reason. 

"We really wanted to elevate our menu, and our new chef stepped up our game 100 percent — he brought in really elegant fish," Michael Shearer, service manager at Anchor Sushi Preston. "We're always striving to do better, and we are always trying to learn." 




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