Dining Out Sustainably: Uchiko

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I distinctly remember the first time I ate at Uchi.  One beautiful dish after another came out from the kitchen, each with perfectly melded subtle flavors that never over powered the delicate fish.  To this day, Uchiviche, Chef Tyson Cole’s playful take on ceviche, is one of my favorite dishes in Austin.

Foie Gras and Rabbit

Needless to say, I was delighted when I found out that Chef Cole was opening a sister restaurant a few blocks from my house.  Uchiko, billed as Japanese farmhouse cuisine, offers similar refined, creative sushi and sashimi dishes to Uchi and pairs that with more earthy, comforting dishes from the kitchen.  The atmosphere is open and relaxed allowing you to focus your awe on the plate in front of you.

I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Uchiko several times and with each visit have been delighted by some new find from Chef Paul Qui’s kitchen.  The Mediterranean sea bass in the Suzuki Carpaccio melts on your tongue from the first bite.  The grilled shishito peppers and edamame are a perfect starter for any meal, as is the Ika Yaki with the fresh squid, sorrel and apple.

Ika Yaka
Suzuki Carpaccio

I’ve had so many delightful dishes at Uchiko that I’d be hard pressed to pick favorites. The tempura eggplant from the summer menu were light and flavorful with a nice kick from the sweet chili sauce.    The Koviche pairs the sweet diver scallops with a little tang from the kalamata, tomatillo and black lime. I seriously considered hiding the plate of kai jiru, atlantic mussels with tomato water, from my dining companions because it was so refreshing I felt like I was eating on the seashore.

Kai Jiru

But, the rabbit is my weakness.  The seared rabbit confit with a poached egg and madras curry was by far my favorite dish.  The rabbit and egg were luscious and the curry provided a spicy undertone to keep it from being too rich.  The dish isn’t a standard on the winter menu, but if you see it on the specials board, order it.  You wont’ be sorry.

The desserts at Uchiko are as creative as the main dishes.  My friends enjoyed the tobacco cream and fried milk, while I, with my limited sweet tooth, preferred the more savory sweet corn sorbet and chevre fondant.

Chevre Fondant

If you are looking for a place to celebrate Edible Austin’s Eat Local Week where your taste buds will be simultaneously delighted and challenged, Uchiko is the place to go.  Like the other participating restaurants, Uchi and Uchiko will be featuring locally sourced dishes from which part of the proceeds will be donated to Urban Roots.

See you at Eat Local Week!

View the full photo set on Flickr.

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