at the end of may, me and T made a quick trip to Austin.. for some outlet shopping and eating.. and pretty much just to getaway. one of our stops that we've been planning on for.. years.. was Uchi. and we finally got to try it.
i went ahead and made reservations, since i've heard that the wait is generally long, but the cool thing is that they only set a small portion for reservations and the rest for walk-ins. still we had reservations.. at the super early time of 5:30. we arrived, and there were several others already feasting and drinking. the place was small and quaint, with a small bar up front and tables rather close, dim lighting and modern asian decor. after looking over the menu and from several suggestions from friends we decided to skip the omakase and order ourselves.
here's what we ate:
hama chili - quite delicious when each bite consists of a slice of mandarin orange, some chili's along with the hamachi. the citrus sauce was tasty along with the chili's that added a slight kick, although not overly. i did hope for a more melt in your mouth experience from the hamachi.
mongo ika - i actually enjoyed this, i've never had cuttlefish served this way, so i was slightly skeptical expecting it to have the chewiness of say squid or arctic claw. while it turned out to be the complete opposite. T on the other hand didn't enjoy the slight after taste it left behind.
kona kanpachi - amberjack sashimi mixed with rice in a still hot stone bowl, then topped with a sweet soy sauce. the stone bowl crisps the rice as well as slightly cooks the fish. the flavors and everything meld quite well together here. it seems to be a crowd favorite.. but maybe a bit overhyped.
japanese pumpkin tempura - i like tempura.. and it was happy hour, so this was $1. i had to get it. not much else to say.
walu walu - grilled escolar in a bed of yuzupon sauce served with a spoon so you can indulge in large scoops of the sauce. i also can't say i've had cooked escolar, and was surprised by the meaty texture of it. it went well in contrast with the sauce. satisfying but not simply amazing.
foie gras nigiri - aahhh pure deliciousness. melt in your mouth seared perfection here. this dish does no wrong.. and mixed with the rice, is surprisingly delicious.
bacon sen - grilled pork belly with apple puree, such genius. each bite was melt in your mouth, with a perfect mix of salty, sweet, and tartness from the shaved fennal/cilantro salad on top. we would go back just to order this.
jizake creme caramel - with brown butter sorbet and ginger consume. honestly the creme caramel was the forgettable part of this dish.. while the brown butter sorbet along with the ginger consume i would've licked up the last drop off this plate. it was refreshing and light.. and the perfect end to the meal. i wish i could have this on a hot day.
we had very high expectations going into uchi. and while the high praises may be merited, this probably hindered our palates, which expected more each time. even so, it was an enjoyable experience with good food, would we go back? certainly, but not make a trip to austin for it. luckily for us, there has been news of an uchi coming to houston next year.
This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is a generation that circles the globe and searches for something we haven't tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite and never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience. And if it hurts, you know what? It's probably worth it.