When it comes to Japanese food in Austin, Uchi is the one restaurant is always mentioned and universally praised by foodies. For my 30th birthday, I decided to head to the nationally acclaimed restaurant to celebrate and find out what all the hype was about.
I wasn’t disappointed one bit. Having been to Uchiko and really liking the food there, I have to say that Uchi feels a even notch or two more refined.
Here’s a quick photo essay that depicts the Uchi 5 course Omakase tasting menu, which our waiter described as “the greatest hits” of Uchi’s menu. I enjoyed my Uchi experience immensely and hope you enjoy the photos.
Amazing birthday card from a special someone
Crudo sea bass, orange oil, garlic and black pepper in a citrus vinaigrette. The sea bass was incredibly creamy and well balanced – I can see why this is a favorite at Uchi.
Maguro sashimi and goat cheese with cracked pepper, fuji apple and pumpkin seed oil. Goat Cheese and tuna? Somehow it worked – the goat cheese was very mild and creamy which contrasted well with the slight tartness of the apple… the meatiness of the tuna was brought out even more by the oil. There were tons of layers in this dish and we ate every last bit of it.
Uni (sea urchin) sushi that we ordered in addition to the omakase. It was amazing… you need to get this. This is super fresh and even better than the uni I had at Uchiko. Somehow it had more flavor and tasted more of the sea… the creamy, delicious, umami sea.
Machi cure maplewood-smoked baby yellowtail with yucca chips, asian pear, marcona almonds and garlic brittle. Interestingly our waiter called this dish “Japanese nachos” which doesn’t really connotate high class, but this dish was another one that had lots of layers and brought together tons of ingredients that don’t sound like they would work together, but somehow do. I think there were even golden raisins in there… raisins and sushi… wha?
Hotate spicy scallop with avocado – this is great but not as great as the uni. Incredibly creamy and flavorful, and dare I say better than the Uchiko version.
Kona kanpachi pacific amberjack sashimi with crispy koshi hikari rice, ringger farm egg and sweet soy broth. This was great, if a bit less refined. The entire dish is cooked right in front of you so that’s kind of cool – The amberjack was cooked nicely… seared on the outside but very soft inside.
OK… this is another must have. Everyone loves pork belly and this is one of the most refined versions I’ve had. The accompanying veggies complimented the meat well and the pork itself had a sweet glaze on the outside, almost like a Chinese BBQ sweet pork, but fancier.
Hey a surprise cake for me! (not on Uchi’s menu)
Monkey man Birthday slice
The 5 course tasting menu is enough food for two and costs $90. You might want to get a side or two, as it’s not a ton of food, but enough for a light meal.
Uchi isn’t cheap, but the experience is awesome so I would recommend it for a special occasion for someone who can appreciate complex flavors and the amount of effort that went into preparing the food.
Have you had the 5 course tasting menu at Uchi? What are your favorite items on the menu? Let us know in the comments.