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Houston Sushi: Uchi (Mar. 2013)

March 21, 2013 1 comment

Author: Victor
Restaurant: Uchi
Exec Chef: Tyson Cole
Chef de Cuisine: Kaz Edwards
Website: http://uchirestaurants.com/houston/index.php

Date: March 20, 2013

Notes:

I have wanted to try Uchi for a few months now, especially after hearing my friends from Texas rave about it. Anyway, I decided to visit a friend in Houston because I was in the area (New Orleans! Whoo!), and I decided that I should finally try the restaurant!

The restaurant’s a LOT bigger than I thought it would be. The restaurant would NOT be able to be as big as it was in NYC haha. Oh, Texas… Anyway, the restaurant has five separate dining areas. The wine bar seating has no reservations, and you can sit there and eat or drink if you can manage to snag a seat. The cocktail tables outside serve cocktails and little snacks, such as edamame. The tables and sushi bar usually have reservations, but you can still get seated if you wait (usually at least an hour); Uchi only allows reservations for a relatively small portion of the tables/seats. You can’t reserve directly for the sushi bar, though; it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lastly, the private dining room is generally for dinner parties or business dinners.

We arrived about an hour early, so we just started chatting a bit near the wine bar. We eventually snagged seats at the wine bar and ordered a few appetizers before we started our main meal (comprised of mainly nigiri) at the sushi bar.

11B View

The food’s fantastic and really, really creative. I personally think some of the places in NYC are better in terms of traditional nigiri, especially when you consider only the rice and the fish. I’ve had places in NYC with better fish, rice, or both, but what this place does well (and it does it REALLY well) is execution of more modern and innovative flavor combinations. You have to check out the menu to see what I mean! (You can check out the menu here.)

I really wish I could eat everything on the menu. Everything just looks… delicious, fascinating, innovative, creative, and at times even genius, crazy, or both. Chef Cole is onto something here. I really wish NYC had a restaurant like this.

Nigiri analysis:

The rice was about room temperature and could arguably be a little warmer. Also, it wasn’t too fluffy; it could definitely be a little softer and fluffier.

The fish was really fresh overall, but I think the rarer pieces (like the threadfin snapper or the albacore) were better than the more common pieces (like akami or sake). I thought this was a shame; really good akami is something that can make me a really happy eater—the akami here was merely good :(.

Regarding the nigiri, the fish didn’t always melt in my mouth, and it could be pretty inconsistent. At times, the sushi piece was amazing, and the fish tasted really, really fresh; at other times, the nigiri merely tasted pretty good.

I’m a little sad that Uchi doesn’t serve chūtoro, ōtoro, or tamago. I’m curious as to what Chef Cole would do with those ingredients.

Click here to see pictures of all the food; there’s a LOT!