Pearl, a new sushi restaurant led by Chef Shine Tamaoki, will open by the intersection of McKinney Ave and Knox St. later this summer. Located at 4640 McKinney Ave., Unit 130, Dallas, TX 75205, the restaurant will offer both dine-in and takeout through a dedicated sushi window.
Shine was born in Yamanashi, Japan, a city nestled next to Mount Fuji. Growing up, he spent time in both America and Japan, visiting his dad at his horse training ranch in Colorado during summers, while heading back to Japan for school. Eventually, his dad built a ranch in Whitesboro, TX and Shine moved to North Texas to join him and attend high school.
From a very young age Shine had always known he wanted to own his own restaurant so after graduating from Whitesboro High School he went to the University of North Texas to study business. During this time, he worked as a sushi chef at various local restaurants, dedicating himself to learning everything he could about the art of creating great sushi. A few years later, a mutual friend of his introduced him to the Executive Chef at Nobu Dallas, which changed Shine’s trajectory forever by showing the business he wanted to own—his own sushi restaurant.
At the time, Shine was the youngest sushi chef at Nobu Dallas and recalls approaching his job like a Japanese sushi apprentice, diligently learning the traditional fundamentals of sushi being taught by the Executive Chef. Over the next seven years, Shine honed his craft and learned everything he could about the inner workings of a fast-paced restaurant.
Shine’s passion for making sushi approachable to everyone, including first-time sushi eaters, is what ultimately led him to meet his business partner Todd Landis. Todd, a lawyer with over 45 trips to Japan under his belt for work, has been a huge fan of sushi for many years and as his daughter started to get older she started to take notice. After requesting to be taken to a nice sushi restaurant – at the age of three, no less – Todd and his daughter Naomi found themselves sitting at Shine’s sushi counter at Nobu.
“When I first met Shine I was immediately impressed with how he was able to make raw fish so approachable to my daughter, Naomi,” said Todd Landis, partner at Pearl. “We had an agreement that she would try one new type of fish every time we went out to eat sushi and Shine was the perfect guide, starting her off with a mild white fish and slowly building her palate up each time they visited.”Landis adds, “She’s now 10 years old and she’s tried up to 57 different types of fish. When I heard about Shine’s dream of opening a sushi restaurant, I knew I had to get involved somehow.”
At Pearl, Shine plans to follow Japanese traditions with a tastefully progressive approach to sushi. “Being Japanese and living here in the States, I can see the difference in the palate. I realized I can bridge the gap while still preserving traditional fundamentals in sushi,” says Tamaoki.
With that said, Shine is a traditionalist at heart and you won’t find any non-Japanese preparations on the menu – with the exception of one roll incorporating Philadelphia cream cheese; an ode to his business partner Todd who is from Philadelphia.
He continues, “I am excited to incorporate flavors from my hometown, Yamanashi, which is known for the best plums and grapes produced in Japan. Growing up I also lived in a prefecture called Yamagata on the northern side of Japan which is known for dadacha (edamame), cherries, and local Ayu fish which I look forward to paying tribute to on the Pearl menu in creative ways”.
In addition to sushi, the menu at Pearl will feature shared plates, salads, and hot dishes allowing guests to carve out their own experience each time they visit the restaurant.
“My vision for guests is to enjoy family-style dining, however, if someone wants to dine alone and enjoy a sushi roll, oysters, and a cocktail we will also have a menu and ambiance to accommodate that as well.”
While Shine plans to focus on omakase dinners once a month, guests who request omakase for the evening will be able to enjoy his creations for the evening any day of the week. The beverage program will also focus on craft cocktails featuring classic cocktails as well as unique cocktails highlighting Japanese flavors. Sake, wine, and beer will also be available.