Food & Drink

Lake Highlands goes foreign

For immigrants, it helps to have an already settled relative to show you the ropes, secure you a job, and point out that, when your flabby, 92lb frame becomes too corpulent for gymnastics, there's always synchronized gymnastics. Buoyed by family to buoy your belly, the guy behind Zato Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar

Out in Lake Highlands, Zato is presided over by a Bangkok native who immigrated to earn an MBA at the U. of Dallas, then, after learning sushi-making at two Tarrant County restos, was convinced by his aunt (who runs Addison's Jasmine Uniquely Chinese) to open this tiny, subdued sleeve, which sports just 12 tables and a raw bar so short, it'll freak out on you if you don't call it "horizontally challenged". Thai/southern Chinese dishes include apps like crab-coated Shrimp in a Blanket and Sweet Corn Patties, soups (coconut milk Tom Kha Gai, spicy seafood Po Tak), fried rice (Thai Herbal Chicken/Curry/Basil/Pineapple...), noodles (from Pad Thai to spinach-based Yen Ta Foh w/ tofu/shrimp tempura/fish/shrimp balls), and entrees like the fried chicken/beef/spinach/carrot/cabbage Rama Long Song (the chicken-only version's called the "Free Bird"). Sushi rolls trend towards the spicy, and run from the Crunchy Rainbow (shrimp tempura/crab topped w/ tuna, salmon, ebi & avocado), to the Godzilla (Cali roll w/ white fish baked in spicy mayo), to the Zato Tower (sauced, forkable layers of rice, crab, avocado, spicy tuna & fish eggs), to the crab & cream cheese Tear in Heaven, whose jalapenos and wasabi caviar will cause you to make a babyface

Zato's BYOB for now, but're planning to bring in beer, wine and sake -- sure to provide comfort, because when cream-cheese-mayo sushi's made you too fat for synchronized gymnastics, there's always alcohol.