Since 2010 Tyson Cole’s Uchiko restaurant, the sister restaurant to his ever popular “Uchi”, has been at the pinnacle of Austin’s food scene with its Japanese roots and international influence. Uchiko is not a sushi restaurant. It’s a multi-layered dining experience which fuses Japanese traditions with deep-rooted knowledge of what makes a customer happy. Attention to the environment is paramount here as the chefs do their best to work with only sustainably-farmed fish that do not put our oceans and its creatures in jeopardy. This is commendable.
The dark and dimly-lit space is open with a bar and tables cleverly placed. There are free standing tables as well as booths. Servers hustle from kitchen to table, informing diners of the day’s specials and explaining the very involved menu. You might be offered tuna from Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market flown-in that morning, branzino with yuzu kosho, nuoc mam and green papaya, “jar jar duck” – a jar stuffed with tender moulard duck, candied citrus and endive or Japanese yellowtail sushi with pickled green apple and jalapeño. For dessert, “fried milk”, yes, fried milk, a concoction of various dairy delights or “tobacco cream” – a smokey chocolate cream with pecan and blueberry. The food here is the epitome of detailed, in the best of ways.
Uchiko is special. Aside from the highest-grade food and culinary innovation, the service is impeccable. Servers and their team members make it their mission to ensure customers are satisfied and well-looked after. You can feel that they truly care about the presentation of their food and the customer’s understanding of what they’re eating. Your server won’t hesitate to spend ten minutes with you explaining each ingredient in a multi-ingredient dish. There’s no rushing you through dinner.
Uchiko is a “must” in Austin. For any fan of Japanese food, real Japanese food, this is it. For any fan of culinary experimentation, this is it. This establishment is the perfect blend of the old with the new – and oh, how good it tastes.