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What I Ate: May 30, 2010 (Uchi)

Posted 31 May, 2010 at 10:04pm by Michael Chu
(Filed under: Food, What I Ate)

Dinner: For Tina's birthday (the day before, but Sunday worked out better for us), we went to Uchi (801 South Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX‎ - (512) 916-4808‎) with Braden and Kelly.

Amuse bouche - cured strawberries, pickled rhubarb, and watermelon radishes. The amuses that we've had in the past at Uchi have showcased Chef Cole and Chef Qui's skill at balancing strong flavors. Unfortunately, we didn't feel this simple starter was a good representation of the food at Uchi.
Uchi - Amuse Bouche of cured strawberries, pickled rhubarb, and watermelon radishes

edamame whole soybeans with sea salt, served hot. ($3)
Uchi - edamame

crudo sea bass, orange oil, garlic and black pepper in a citrus vinaigrette. ($11)
Uchi - crudo

machi cure maplewood-smoked baby yellowtail with yucca chips, asian pear, marcona almonds and garlic brittle. ($18) Excellent combination of clean flavors and great texture. The only thing is that the yucca chip was a bit too hard/crunchy, but a lighter chip might not hold up to the moisture.
Uchi - Machi cure

tako pops grilled marinated baby octopus. ($8) Sweet, spicy, and chewy - a good break from the delicate flavors and textures.
Uchi - Tako pops

uchiviche salmon, striped bass, vine-ripened tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, garlic and cilantro ($12)
Uchi - uchiviche

aka uni japanese red sea urchin. ($6 each)
Uchi - aka uni

walu walu oak-grilled escolar with candied citrus, yuzupon and myoga. ($16) I didn't really liked the texture of the escolar - it was a bit too firm and chewy for my taste.
Uchi - Walu walu

tomato katsu panko-fried green tomatoes. ($5) We've had better fried green tomatoes. The tomatoes were still firm and almost crunchy (we prefer them cooked a little more) and the panko crust didn't have much flavor with out the dressing.
Uchi - Tomato Katsu

ao seared norwegian mackerel, morel mushroom, basil blossoms, juniper, and huckleberry. ($19) Very good balance of flavors with the mackerel and sauce. Unfortunately, the morels were pretty lost in the huckleberries, but still excellent.
Uchi - Ao

hirame usuzukuri thinly-sliced flounder, smoked sea salt, yuzu zest, daikon, and quinoa candy. ($18) This was one of the few dishes we didn't rave about. If it had come earlier in the meal, we might have liked it, but, after the mackerel, this dish was too mild and the flavors too muted. A little additional salt might have made it better.
Uchi - Hirame Usuzukuri

hot rock "sear it yourself" wagyu beef with ponzu sauce on a japanese river rock. ($16) We've never ordered this before because it seemed gimmicky. But all evening we smelled the wonderful smokiness of people grilling on hot rocks, so we decided to order it. The salt around the rock was seasoned with cloves and peppercorns and other aromatics which filled the air with pleasant spices. The wagyu beef was fatty and flavorful, but it didn't add much to be able to sear them table-side. A few pieces had some gristle and, overall, I would have preferred to eat a larger piece of wagyu steak. I found the ponzu sauce to be more distracting than anything else.
Uchi - Hot rock

buta kavu pork belly, watermelon radish, kumquat, and basil. ($18) Great flavor, but the meat on the pork belly was a little chewier than I expected.
Uchi - Buta kavu

maguro sashimi and goat cheese with cracked pepper, fuji apple and pumpkin seed oil. ($17) Tina's favorite dish. The tuna matched perfectly with the apple slices and mild goat cheese.
Uchi - Maguro sashimi and goat cheese

scallop hot rock with orange oil and san baizu. ($19) We ordered this when we figured out that the wonderful smokey smell we kept smelling was the scallops on hot rocks. Lightly seared, the smells were intoxicating, the texture was perfect, and it had a great sweetness. I don't think I'll ever come back to Uchi without ordering this dish.
Uchi - Scallop hot rock

foie gras nigiri quinoa and fish caramel. ($9) A unique, but inspired use of foie gras. I loved how this tasted, but Tina didn't much like the shredded shiso on top of the foie.
Uchi - Foie gras nigiri

jizake creme caramel with brown butter sorbet & ginger consomme. ($9) Excellent dessert - simple flavors yet perfectly and skillfully matched.
Uchi - Jizake creme caramel

okashi smoked chocolate sorbet, marshmallow, bacon, and blood orange. ($9) This dessert was a little more complicated and busy. I didn't feel that it showcased the best of what Uchi has to offer. The inclusion of blood oranges with the marshmallow cream was inspired however, but there wasn't enough of those two ingredients.
Uchi - Okashi

Lunch: Tina and I had the last of the pizza from BJ's Brewhouse as well as some artichokes.
Leftover BJ's Brewhouse Flatbread Pizza

Late Night: We had some of the géniose riche that I baked her for her birthday.
Genoise Riche

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