100 Favorite Dishes 2012: No. 5, Machi Cure at Uchi

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Photos by Troy Fields
This year leading up to our annual Best of Houston® issue, we're counting down our 100 favorite dishes in Houston. This list comprises our favorite dishes from the last year, dishes that are essential to Houston's cultural landscape and/or dishes that any visitor (or resident) should try at least once.

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You only need to order a dish of machi cure at Uchi to quickly figure out that this is not your average sushi restaurant. The dish -- whose name is an abbreviated reference to hamachi, or yellowtail tuna -- was first created by Uchi executive chef/owner Tyson Cole for his battle against chef Masaharu Morimoto when he appeared on Iron Chef America. Although Cole lost to the Japanese superstar chef, the dish he created ended up staying on the menu at Uchi as a perennial favorite.

It's re-created faithfully here in Houston by chef de cuisine Kaz Edwards and his team, who smoke the baby yellowtail with applewood chips and then combine the fish with fried yucca chips, Marcona almonds, sultanas and Asian pears in a white soy dressing infused with orange oil. It's a playful combination of smoke, salt and sweet with an irresistible crunch supplied by those earthy yucca chips.

Says Cole of the dish in his cookbook, Uchi:

We came up with this when we were messing around with different ingredients for chips. We had yucca root, and we liked how well a thin yucca chip worked with sashimi. We added some yellowtail that we had cured and smoked to give it a salty sweetness. Then we added crunchy Marcona almonds and candied garlic and contrasted that with golden raisins. A lot of people call these Japanese nachos, which is pretty fitting.

And just like nachos, you can eat the machi cure with your fingers if you see fit -- although chopsticks are also available. Either way works, which speaks to the Uchi philosophy of being a casual, neighborhood restaurant. And although the machi cure is $18 on the regular dinner menu, you can get a smaller test-drive portion of the utterly snackable dish during happy hour for only $6.

The list so far:

No. 100: Chili cheese mac at Jus' Mac
No. 99: Texas turkey sandwich at Spec's
No. 98: Custard at Petite Sweets
No. 97: Caprichos mixtos at Taqueria Monterrey Chiquito
No. 96: Pineapple-wasabi burger at Lankford Grocery
No. 95: Farmer's MKT Pizza at Phoenicia's MKT Bar
No. 94: Potatoes at Money Cat Brunch
No. 93: Breakfast tacos at Sunrise Taquito
No. 92: Hot dog at Tacos D.F.
No. 91: Avocado gelato at Frozen Cafe
No. 90: Chicken sandwich at JerryBuilt Homegrown Burgers
No. 89: Beer-battered asparagus at Hearsay
No. 88: Honey Badger omelet at Kraftsmen Cafe
No. 87: Pastelitos de carne at El Jalapeño
No. 86: Pancakes at Union Kitchen
No. 85: Wild boar and crab pizza at Boheme
No. 84: Breakfast croissant at BB Donuts
No. 83: Pretzel at Anvil Bar & Refuge
No. 82: Short rib sandwich at Shepherd Park Draught House
No. 81: Grilled shrimp po-boy at Pappadeaux
No. 80: Dahi puri at Shiv Sagar
No. 79: Aporreado at Los Corrales
No. 78: Oxtail francobolli at Aldo's Cucina Italiana
No. 77: Tonkotsu at Cafe Kubo's
No. 76: Spinach danish from Angela's Oven
No. 75: Pupusas at El Petate
No. 74: Pheasant dog at Sammy's Wild Game Grill
No. 73: X-Tudo burger at Friends Pizzeria
No. 72: Esparragos gratinados at Tintos
No. 71: Gua bao at Yummy Kitchen
No. 70: Geisha dog at Happy Endings
No. 69: Oyster po-boy and gumbo at Goode Co. Seafood
No. 68: Ceviche at Sirena Seafood
No. 67: Caldo de mariscos at Taqueria Arandas
No. 66: Banana pudding at Pizzitola's
No. 65: Fried catfish and gumbo at Cafe-A-La
No. 64: Soft-shell crabs at Banana Leaf
No. 63: Macaroni and cheese at Vic & Anthony's Steakhouse
No. 62: Torta burger at El Gran Malo
No. 61: Black bean burger at Ziggy's
No. 60: Parillada at Pampa Grill
No. 59: Peanut butter and jalapeño jelly burger at Wicked Whisk
No. 58: Eggplant involtini at Giacomo's Cibo e Vino
No. 57: Lone Star dog at James Coney Island
No. 56: Sushi at Sushi Miyagi
No. 55: Palestinian chicken at Al Aseel
No. 54: Roast beef sandwich at Local Foods
No. 53: Mexico City plate at Molina's Cantina
No. 52: Tacos at Brothers Taco House
No. 51: Branzino at Lucio's BYOB
No. 50: Beef sweetbreads at Feast
No. 49: Golden Doomba Special at the Rice Box Truck
No. 48: Malted waffle at City Cafe
No. 47: Banh mi bo kho at Cafe TH
No. 46: Chicken fried steak at Triple A
No. 45: Larissa plate at Harry's
No. 44: Spaghetti carbonara at Coppa Ristorante Italiano
No. 43: Wings and grits at The Breakfast Klub
No. 42: Frito pie at C&D Burger Shoppe
No. 41: Pollo con mole at El Gallo de Jalisco
No. 40: Fried avocado taco at H-Town StrEATs
No. 39: Rigatoni in bolognese sauce at Paulie's
No. 38: Chorizo kolaches at Peña's Donut Heaven
No. 37: Sashimi at Dadami
No. 36: Half-pound burger at benjy's
No. 35: Fried chicken at Haven
No. 34: Whole-fried speckled trout at Liberty Kitchen
No. 33: Moules congolaise at Jeannine's Bistro
No. 32: Pancakes at Fountain View Cafe
No. 31: Pineapple with chile en polvo at Canino's
No. 30: Fried chicken at Barbecue Inn
No. 29: Dirty Burque at Green Seed Vegan
No. 28: Egusi at Finger Licking Bukateria
No. 27: Brisket and turkey at CorkScrew BBQ
No. 26: Menudo at La Mexicana
No. 25: Shrimp and grits at Shade
No. 24: Kinilaw at Reef
No. 23: Lamb at El Hidalguense
No. 22: Gumbo at Danton's
No. 21: Chicken-fried water buffalo at The Hay Merchant
No. 20: Roasted cauliflower at Roost
No. 19: Truffled egg toast at Dolce Vita
No. 18: 63-degree egg at Brasserie 19
No. 17: Drunken foie gras at Philippe
No. 16: Beet salad at Triniti
No. 15: Yogi thali at Pondicheri
No. 14: Bialy and lox at The Hot Bagel Shop
No. 13: Ribs at Gatlin's
No. 12: Venison carpaccio at Thanh Phuong
No. 11: Camarones henesy en hamaca at Arturo Boada Cuisine
No. 10: Prosciutto and arugula pizza at Pizaro's Pizza Napoletana
No. 9: Crawfish at The Hideaway on Dunvale
No. 8: Pho at Pho Binh
No. 7: Ceviche at La Fisheria
No. 6: Ma po tofu at Mala Sichuan



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Uchi

904 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
RoyLYoung
RoyLYoung

@HTownChowDown @uchihouston @kshilcutt can't beat the early bird menu my problem is I can't stick to it. Too many good items

RoyLYoung
RoyLYoung

@HTownChowDown @uchihouston @kshilcutt it's good but not better than jarjar duck

briguyblock
briguyblock

@kshilcutt You haven't lived till you had "Brian's Bowl of Cereal!"... It's not much more than that. :/

epikwhite
epikwhite

@kshilcutt Deconstructed salmon tamale!

kshilcutt
kshilcutt

@RoyLYoung @HTownChowDown I like @UchiHouston's happy hour menu, but the full menu is more fun: so rich and fun to explore.

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

@RoyLYoung @UchiHouston @kshilcutt That’s the problem at places like Uchi - you want to eat everything.

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

@RoyLYoung @UchiHouston @kshilcutt Jar Jar Duck or Machi Cure? I love having that decision to make. “Both” usually wins.

kshilcutt
kshilcutt

@epikwhite You sly bastard. Did @CynicalHouston tell you?

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