Uchiko

Spanish boquerones with botagra and shime saba, mackarel with tomato and truffles, some of the best pieces of sushi I have ever had…ever.

Long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a young chef named Tyson Cole, who dreamed of owning a restaurant where he could serve his cutting-edge, Japanese-influenced cuisine to people who were eager for something new. With a little luck and lots of hard work, it became a reality in 2003.  Back then, a new, inquisitive food writer was thankfully assigned to review the newly opened restaurant for the Austin Chronicle, publishing a glowing account of its adventurous, superfine cuisine in November of that year. Early in 2004, a certain well-known food writer released a list of Austin’s Top 50 Restaurants of 2003, listing Uchi somewhere around #44 and writing a short blurb about a chicken salad sushi roll. Soon after Tyson was named one of America’s Best New Chefs of 2005 by Food and Wine magazine, said local food writer forgot about the chicken salad and named Uchi as his #1 restaurant.  Tyson and I still laugh about it.

Phillip, Tyson, and Paul, playing with their food

Now that he is a major nationally recognized rock star, he remains the humble, funny young chef I befriended in ’03, and has surrounded himself with amazing talent to take his cuisine to the next level, as is the case at Uchiko. Lucky, lucky me, I was invited to an open house for a “show-and-tell” kind of happy hour where Tyson, Executive Chef Paul Qui, and Pastry Chef Phillip Speer prepared bite sized treats as they explained about  each dish,  and answered any question anyone had about preparation, technique, you name it.

Here are some of the things we sampled that night:

An oldie but goodie: big eye tuna, watermelon, Vietnamese fish sauce, cilantro.

Sea scallop and green tomato with black olive salt, the Pan Am: sake, watermelon agua fresca, granny smith, rosemary.

Paul’s tapioca “chicharrones” flavored with squid ink (front) and truffles (back).

The Pao: black tea nigori, pedro ximenez, egg white, dried red shiso

 

Fried milk, choco­late milk, toasted milk, iced milk sherbet

 

 

 

 

 

 

Armed with a gift certificate and wanting to try what we previously had not, we returned for a full dinner last Sunday. Paul was at the bar so we just let him feed us. Among many other wonderful choices, he sent us these:

Yellow­tail ringo: seared hamachi, fennel chips , fresh fuji apple, apple chips, spicy sauce

Grilled rabbit loin and rack, Spanish chorizo, truffles

Chevre fondant tomato sorbet, sicilian pista­chio croquant, tomato paper

 

 

 

 

 

 

All these were accompanied from selections of one of Austin’s most interesting wine lists, curated by Supergirl Sommelier June Rodil. Seriously, if you have not yet been to Uchiko, you are missing out and messing up. In a couple of weeks we will be returning to celebrate my birthday along with my friend Harri who is coming from Finland just for the occasion. I can’t think of anything that could top that.

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4 Comments

  1. Claudis – Looks amazing… Adam and I were just talking about Uchiko on Friday as we celebrated Chuckie’s b-day while enjoying Will Sexton and Strings Attached at nearby Central Market. He is totally up for a HH tasting in the near future, and we would love a “guided tour”! Great to hear that Harri will be in town for your b-day. Enjoy!
    Joa
    ps Saludos de la Ardilla

  2. Hey perrush! Me sigues debiendo una vuelta juntas a Uchi y ahora a Uchiko! Te llamo pronto para ver como te fue en el Natural Gardener. Love ya!

  3. Pingback: CuisineXplorers – Uchi: The Cookbook

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