You Had Me at Uchiko

Categories: On the Road

Anamaris Cousins Price
Beef tongue sushi
I was in Austin on business last week and, though it wasn't my first time there, it had been a while. When I visit a place I like to find out where the locals go. I spoke to this guy who mentioned his wife was a chef; he insisted Uchiko was a must. To be honest, I hadn't heard of the place before. I was intrigued.

I logged on to the website and found myself drooling and, yes, moaning as I read the menu. I'm a huge sushi fan, but this was so much more than that. Tyson Cole is the Master and Commander at Uchi, Uchiko's cool "big sister." Paul Qui is his Number One, directing the restaurant's second location, Uchiko, a more relaxed dining room.

Uchiko is located at N. Lamar and 38th Street. Once through the doors, you're greeted by a bustling space that is hip without being too trendy or stiff. Once the hostess established that this was my first time to Uchiko, I was handheld through the menu and dining experience, but in a good way.

I started off with a Larkin -- sparkling wine with grilled thyme and cured lemon, just a hint of sweetness that paired beautifully with everything I had. I teased my appetite with some thinly sliced tempura eggplant, then came close to tears after my first bite of the ham & eggs roll, a crisp pork belly center served with three different dipping sauces. I also had some oysters and a couple of beef tongue pieces -- oh, my, they were good.

fried milk.jpg
Anamaris Cousins Price
Fried Milk
Then, dessert, which is not always high on my list. But I kept hearing about the Fried Milk. This is their take on milk at various stages: a milk sherbet, fried pastry cream, chocolate milk mousse and toasted milk crumbles. When I built the perfect bite with a bit of everything, it tasted like corn flakes in malted milk. Unreal! It didn't last long.

Tyson Cole will be opening an Uchi in Houston. Can't wait.



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15 comments
Michael Housewright
Michael Housewright

Uchi and Uchiko represent two of the finest dining experiences in Texas today. Sitting with Massa at the bar and watching the balletic show unfold behind the counter and in the sparkling kitchen at Uchiko is worth the price of admission. I consider these dining performances on par with places like Cyrus in Healdsburg and Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan.I am glad a fellow Houstonian has discovered these rare gems

Cheers,M

Anamaris Cousins
Anamaris Cousins

Anamaris here. I'm going to blame Crank's crankiness on the heat, that would make sense to me.

Trisch, I'm taking heed of your comment and will work towards putting more meat into the comments. My POV on EOW was to be focused on dining establishments that have been in business for 15-20+ years. Share with EOW readers what it is about those places that makes them (often) hidden gems. I will continue to focus on those establishments, so if you have any faves, do share them with me. As for my Uchiko experience, it really was stunning. The ham & egg roll sounded so foreign to me, but I simply can't resist the promise of pork belly. The pork belly is meaty and fatty all at once, fried to a crisp and tucked into grainy espelette pepper covered sushi rice, which made the texture of the roll seem fried (if that makes sense). The 3 sauces are a Shiner beer sauce, a yolk custard and slightly sweet Meyer lemon sauce. Dipping into the yolk custard alone, made it taste like bacon dipped in a soft egg.  The beef tongue was grilled and smoky, kissed with what they described as a fish caramel. First, I have never seen beef tongue on a sushi menu, so that alone caught my attention. But more than that, I enjoyed tasting the tongue in an almost naked state. I've usually had it braised or even cured, but this was tongue at its simplest; the fish caramel reminded me of fish sauce that was sweetened with the caramel (burnt sugar) that tops flan. Sir Ron, thanks for offerning to slay the dragons; do tell me about my assassin name. I always dreamt of leading a secret double life.

For the guest grossed by the description of the Fried Milk dessert, sorry. That really is what it tasted like, though. The toasted milk is made into crunchy crumbles and so when you add them to the other ingredients, it reminded me of the crunch of corn flakes, as well as the taste of them. Then the other milky components varied from tasting like milk, to a bit more complex malty taste. It was REALLY REALLY good! I may not have the right words to describe it, but believe me, it is a MUST.

Root
Root

And just because I can, tartare de cheval. Hookers.

Root
Root

And for the record, Shilcutt gets paid for this shit. For shame.

Root
Root

This has NOTHING to do with the restaurant itself. To be quite honest, I'd love for you to never come back. And I don't work here.

You are a bunch of people who fucking whine.

Out.

Guest
Guest

"it tasted like corn flakes in malted milk"

I like the photo, not that quoted description.  Sounds putrid.

SirRon
SirRon

Thanks for the review. People who hate Austin are leotarded. I'm here to field any weak-ass whiny comebacks all day.

I've got a question though. Why does like half the EOW staff have assassin names? Is that to deter us from stalking the HP office?

Craig
Craig

That is some seriouly lame looking food.   I can't belive slop like that has made its way to Austin.

And comments like "hip without being too trendy or stiff" give me more insight into your personal issues than anything about the food.

Fluffy Crank
Fluffy Crank

"Hip" and "trendy" seem to be your hallmarks.

Fluffy Crank
Fluffy Crank

We have enough hipster foodie scum in Austin, TYVM. Why don't you continue to destroy the pleasure of decent restaurants in Houston?

Shillcutt is giving writing lessons now?

Clumsy Plumsy
Clumsy Plumsy

You know, I like you Fluffy Crank. You know what you're going to get with your comments right out of the box. Cranky, yet fluffy, as in "light in substance". It's refreshing, in a way, taking the whole "thought process" thing out of the equation.

Root
Root

Like to Austin. Or the rest of Texas. Ever.

trisch
trisch

And to follow up on the question about EOW staff, I'm just curious what Ms. Price's hook or perspective is supposed to be.  Thus far I've found her reviews to be easy to read but without any depth and not really revealing. For example, in this review the ham and eggs roll brought her close to tears, but it doesn't say why -- I'm guessing because it was good, since the overall gist is that Uchiko is good, but what about the roll makes it so emotional? Likewise, what makes the oysters and the beef tongue oh-my-good? Also, while I'm glad Ms. Price is upfront and honest about her lack of knowledge about the Austin food scene, it really doesn't inspire any faith in her foodwriting that she's never heard of Uchiko before, especially after the media blitz over the past several years around Uchi, Tyson Cole, his search for the Uchiko location, the grand opening of Uchiko, and the Uchi-to-be in the old Felix location on Westheimer.  Is that what her hook is supposed to be? The perspective of someone who is not immersed in local/regional food culture?

Katharine Shilcutt
Katharine Shilcutt

I have to admit, I don't understand a single word of your comment except that I'm sensing you're somehow...upset...by a nice write-up...of a fascinating restaurant. Is that it? Is that what folks are getting angry about these days?

Either way, great photos, Anamaris. I really can't wait to try this place.

SirRon
SirRon

Ooh, ooh. I know what the answer to these questions! Oh wait, everyone knows the answer to these questions.

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