Sozo Japanese Steakhouse in Sugar Land offers a choice of five proteins for its bowls, including steak, shown here alongside zucchini, mushrooms, onions and fried rice. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

I’ve seen many great innovations and adaptations from restaurants with their packaging and to-go containers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 But you all have no doubt had an experience similar to that of my 5-year-old self when I dropped my ice cream cone on the floor of my grandma’s car on the way home from the zoo. That was instructive for me both as a lesson in the laws of physics and how the behavior of consumers can influence the way products are packaged and sold. Had my ice cream come in a plastic mini helmet or a bowl of some kind, my ice cream would have been less likely to spill. 

 The same basic dynamics come into play with your standard Styrofoam or plastic containers for food or liquids. With Houston traffic being what it is, you’re rolling the dice if you don’t have your food stowed securely somehow under your seat or in the steady hands of a passenger you trust. 

 So, when I saw that Sozo Japanese Steakhouse had opened last month in Sugar Land and they were offering drive-through service, naturally I was intrigued. Could they pull off something of dine-in restaurant caliber in a drive-through? Would it travel well? 

 The answer is an emphatic yes. 

 The menu is streamlined and optimized for assembly-line fast casual service, only you’re not going to see it made in front of you if you’re ordering it from your car. 

 Your entree has five protein choices: Veggie ($10), chicken ($13), fish ($14), steak ($15) or shrimp ($16). 

 My steak bowl came with fried rice and my choice of three vegetables. I selected zucchini, mushrooms and onions, but shelled edamame and salted edamame still contained in its pods are also options. 

 I was impressed with the juiciness of the steak. The vegetables tasted unmistakably fresh and were also grilled to an ideal level of tenderness. 

 As delicious as the main course was, I couldn’t help but be excited to see the lone dessert at the bottom of the menu, the Dole soft serve ($3). Modeled after the Dole Whip which is famously served at Disneyland or Disneyworld, this frosty blend of pineapple and vanilla ice cream is something that must be savored to be believed. 

 If the food at Sozo tasted as good as it did after 30 minutes in the car, I can’t wait to go back and try it again in person. 

 Sozo Japanese Steakhouse

Address: 222 S. State Highway 6 S. Ste. 100, Sugar Land

Dining Options: Dine-in, drive-through, take-out

Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday 

Entrée prices: $10-$16

Kid-friendly: Yes

Senior discount: No

Alcohol: No

Healthy options: Veggie Entree ($10)

Star of the show: Steak Entree ($15)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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