Uchiko: Ii Desu Ne

Billed as contemporary Japanese farmhouse dining, Uchiko (locations in Austin and Houston) is essentially Japanese tapas, including sushi. Not sure exactly where the farmhouse comes in, because it all seems too sleekly gourmet to qualify for that label.  Unless Japanese farmhouses are much hipper than American ones?  Possible.

The food is great, although not cheap; thanks to the small plate concept, you can easily run up a big tab.  Happy hour is the time to go, with several sake and beer choices at $3 apiece and a selection of small plates and sushi rolls from $3 to $6.  Big winners included crispy soy-glazed Brussels sprouts (best I’ve had outside Brasserie Beck), tender grilled beef tongue slivers on rice, and a “ham & eggs” roll with katsu pork belly rolled in rice and seaweed, dipped in egg yolk custard and spicy miso sauce.  Delicious.  Do Japanese farmers really eat this stuff?

Lots of other dishes available, including a daily selection of sushi flown in from that morning’s Tokyo fish market — the menu changes every day to keep up with newly arrived fish.  They have a few larger entrees, in the $25-30 range, but the small plates are most fun.  The restaurant design is Japanese-farmhouse too, I guess: darkly lit, simple lines, lots of wood, a bit of copper here and there.  A steady succession of servers brings each dish as you order it, explaining what’s in it and, sometimes, how to eat it.  Japanese food can be complicated for the non-Japanese person!  Overall, excellent restaurant, and like Jerry Built burgers, located only in Texas so far.  Wheaton beckons, though Uchiko might be insufficiently feral at this early stage of redevelopment; then again, “farmhouse dining” seems like it might fit okay…

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One response to “Uchiko: Ii Desu Ne

  1. For the Top Chef addicted, the executive chef at Uchiko is Paul Qui, winner of the most recent season. And save up, next time you’re back in Austin, we’re going for dinner.

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