Omakase at Uchi can only be described as an experience to remember!
After I saw raving reviews about the sushi there (some said it was even better than BBQ!), I knew I had to make it a stop on my trip to Austin. Make sure to plan ahead and make reservations a few weeks or as soon as your plans allow, because even though we made reservations a few weeks in advance, there were only a few time options available. If you can’t get in to Uchi, you could also try their sister restaurant Uchiko!
Our reservations were for 4 pm, which is their opening time, and we were one of the first customers to arrive.
Once you pass their outdoor waiting area and dining area, which had lots of fans spraying water to provide cooling relief in the heat, you enter the indoor dining area.
The ambience seemed very lively, and there was noticeable excitement in the air even among the staff members as well. Their music was trendy, which complimented the modern interior style, equipped with high ceilings, vibrant walls, wooden seats and tables. Uchi means “house” in Japanese, and the restaurant was made from a refurbished home, but to me their atmosphere seemed more like a large, trendy party room than an intimate, cozy house.
While there is a lot of indoor seating, the tables are close together back to back so it does get a bit loud.
Since I wanted to taste as many things I could, my friend and I both got the Chef’s Tasting 10 Course Omakase Meal, which is market price and ranged about $100 per person. Omakase, which translates to “I’ll leave it up to you,” means you trust the chef to fill your plate with the best of what they have! Our waitress asked us for any preferences in putting together our meal, so we told her that we did not want white tuna (just a personal preference) and that we wanted to try foie gras, as well as wagyu beef.
We started off with some drinks, and for their sake social happy hour (4-6:30 pm daily), their sakes are discounted!
I tried both the cold unfiltered sake (takara nigori) and hot sake (gekkeikan).
The cold sake was sweet, creamy, and tasted like a mix between makgeolli (Korean rice wine) and soju (Korean distilled alcohol). The cold sake is also a fun experience, as it comes in small shot glasses filled to the brim and small wooden boxes, which carry the extra sake. The waitress described how they make it overflow a bit with extra sake to symbolize their abundant welcome to the guests. She suggested sliding the glass on the table to wipe off excess sake and then drinking it. After you finish the sake in the glass, you can drink up the excess by pouring it into the glass. So you basically get a drink and a half!
The hot sake tasted more like distilled alcohol and was sweeter and stronger than the cold sake. It came in a clay jar, which definitely contained enough sake to split between two or more people!
After warming my stomach with some sake, I was ready to dive into the meal!
There are a lot of dishes, so I am numbering them below to make them easier to keep track of. Our waitress was so sweet and gifted us two extra dishes in between our regular omakase so we ended up having a 12 course meal!
1. Oysters with watermelon lime sauce. This dish was a refreshing and clean oyster dish, which was the perfect start to our course. The oysters had diced veggies and melon sprinkled on top, and was a mixture of fruity and slightly salty.
2. The fried brussels sprouts in chili sauce had a really interesting mix of flavors. It was smoky with a tangy mustard flavor, and while I expected it to be spicy, it was not at all. I really enjoyed the unique taste and texture of this dish.
3. For this sushi plate we got the Black snapper (had lime sauce on it), Golden eye snapper (saltier, creamier fish) , and the Tasmanian ocean trout from New Zealand (creamiest, slightly salty, kinda crunchy, good balance of flavors).
We were instructed to flip the sushi when eating it, so that the fish is on the bottom, and consume it with our hands to get the full experience of flavors. The ocean trout was my favorite of the three, and this dish was also one of my favorites because I loved the simple, yet elegant mix of flavors.
One thing that struck me was how sushi and sashimi items were served without soy sauce and ginger because the sauces and toppings are built into the dishes already.
4. The crispy fried chicken thighs were coated with a kimchi emulsion and paired with pickled veggies (pickles, cauliflower, carrot) on top. This fusion dish had a smoky flavor explosion of kimchi juice with cilantros as well as a creamy kimchi Mayo sauce covering it. As much as I love kimchi, I had never tried it in sauce form on chicken, as I was impressed by the creativity of this dish!
5. Ocean trout sashimi had micro shiso, pickled radish, morning melon on top. It had a fruity sauce, and tasted creamy, minty, and crunchy with the veggies. While I appreciated this dish, I enjoyed the ocean trout more in sushi form in dish #3 because I could enjoy the natural flavor of the fish more.
6. Wagyu beef hot rock! This was such a fun dish. They give you a hot rock and you roast the slices of beef yourself to your liking, and then dip it in ponzu sauce. The meat grilling can be a bit tricky as it sticks to the rock if you leave it for too long, but it’s part of the fun! Wagyu is known for its tenderness and it certainly did not disappoint.
7. This was our first gift from our waitress! It consisted of handrolls filled with grilled romaine, cooked fish. This dish had a strong taste with very vinegary pickled onions, mint, cilantro, rice, and a chewy wrapper covered sesame seeds. The flavor of the fish was a bit overpowering but you could balance it with the creamy and flavorful sauce.
8. Our second gift from our waitress was Yellowtail sashimi topped with roe, spicy pepper, sweet mandarin orange, and soy sauce on the bottom. Our waitress informed us that this is the most popular dish in the restaurant! I liked the spiciness of the sliced pepper, paired with the firm texture of the roe and the sweet tartness of mandarin orange.
9. Next was the Grilled amberjack, which had a creamy corn sauce on top. The fish was a bit tougher and drier than raw fish. The topping was a bit too salty for my taste, but the buttery sauce balances it with creamy corn.
10. The Blue fin sashimi was topped with watermelon relish and watermelon vinaigrette. It had a sweet and refreshing taste of watermelon and was crunchy with a spicy salsa sauce on the outside.
11. Now for the foie gras sushi! This delicacy was salty and crispy on the outside, extremely creamy and rich on the inside. It was my first time having foie gras and I can definitely see why it is considered one of the world’s most delicious foods.
12. Dessert was the last dish of course! Our dessert was the sweet potato flan with curry ice cream. As a curry lover, I was so excited to try this. The ice cream was mostly sweet with a slight curry taste, sitting on a bed of crunchy ground coffee and tart yellow raisins. The flan was creamy and not overly sweet. This dish can be best described as a deconstructed creme brûlée with ice cream on top.
If you like exploring different flavors like I do, I highly recommend Uchi’s 10 course meal (which averages out to about $10 per course!) because of the quality of ingredients, creativity of flavors, as well as the level of service! If you would like to try just a few items, I would recommend the ocean trout and foie gras sushi, the wagyu beef, and the sweet potato flan with curry ice cream!
Address: 801 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704