I'm always a bit skeptical when I read numerous of positive reviews on a restaurant. My first thought is, "Can it really be that good?". Especially when it comes to a sushi restaurant. How many times can you reinvent a sushi roll? Well, Uchi in Austin, TX lives up to the hype. It really is that good. It is a sushi restaurant, but so much more. It is actually described as,"Contemporary Japanese dining and sushi restaurant". The play on textures, hot vs. cold elements and sweet and spicy components is like a symphony in your mouth.
My husband and I got really lucky and were able to score a "coveted table" on Thursday night. Mind you, this is a college town where Thursday night has been deemed "date night". Good luck finding a table with no reservations. Somehow the planets aligned and not only did we walk in and get a table, we also found a primo parking spot. Ok, truth be known, we were probably there a little early for the college crowd.
The atmosphere is typical Austin style, mixing old with funky and new. The seating is cramped, but I'm sure that they are trying to squeeze as many people in the place as possible, rightfully so, because the place was packed.
The waitress informed us that the menu was geared towards small plates, tapas style, if you will. These small bites encourages the patrons to try varied dishes without getting full. We started with the standard edamame and sake. Next, we tried the macho cure, which highlights smoked yellowtail. The dish is presented with cooked to perfection yucca chips. These root chips serve as a vehicle to get the yellowtail into your mouth. The smoked fish is somewhat salty and is a wonderful contrast to the sweet asian pear. Now my taste buds are humming. Sweet, salty and a textural element, oh my!! Next we had the spicy tuna roll. Time to pause for an observation here. There was no wasabi in sight. I'm thinking that this overpowering condiment takes away from everything that the chef is trying to accomplish. The fish here is the star of the show. Why mask it with subpar flavors.
Needless to say, in the words of the now disgraced Arnold Schwarzenegger, "I'll be back". Next time I'll try to take pictures before I hurriedly shove all that glorious food into my mouth. Here is the link if you would like to check out the menu: Uchi.