Good morning! First off, happy birthday to my Mom! Second, my computer is alive (knock on wood) and just in time for my first day of grad school classes. Whew!
I was planning on sharing a recipe today, but my amazing meal at Uchi Houston this past weekend is taking precedent! Uchi is a Japanese fusion restaurant that had it’s first successes in Austin, and just recently opened up in Houston. Reservations must be made far in advance and if you try to go without one, you’ll be waiting quite a while. We had a reservation for my Mom’s birthday dinner, but even if we had to have waited, it would have been worth it!
Uchi is becoming famous for their extremely unique and flavor blasted dishes. They definitely live up to the philosophy stated on their website:
“Combining local seasonal ingredients with an infinite spectrum of seafood from around the globe is the basis for Uchi’s culinary philosophy. We invite our diners to explore their gastronomic boundaries by pairing traditional Japanese offerings with new and refreshing flavors and textures.
At Uchi, we serve the freshest product we can procure every day. We maintain close relationships with local farmers and we fly in seafood every day from both Fukuoka and Tsukiji markets in Japan. The essence of Japanese cuisine is the ingredients; at Uchi we prepare our dishes using innovative food combinations for the most unique dining experience in Houston.” (source)
After reading all of the stellar reviews, I had high expectations going into Uchi. They did not disappoint! We decided to order the chef’s tasting menu with a few other dishes. All of the plates are meant to be shared. I’m happy to report that I tried (and loved) every single dish!
First, we had the Hamachile: baby yellowtail٠ponzu٠thai chili٠ orange supreme. This was my first time eating yellowtail sashimi and I will never forget it! It’s really too hard to describe most of these dishes other than incredibly delicious!
Next, we had the Walu Walu: oak-grilled escolar٠candied citrus٠ yuzupon٠myoga. This dish was cooked fish that had an amazing sauce underneath. The fish itself is apparently quite controversial. According to The Kitchn, it’s actually been banned in various countries because part of the fish is indigestible to humans and can cause serious gastrointestinal problems. None of my family members got sick, we simply thought it had an amazing and unique flavor.
Then came the famous brussels sprouts. Since I had done my research on Uchi before we went, I knew we had to try these babies. They were heavenly! They are deep fried and tossed with a caramel fish sauce and chile lime sauce. They are simply the best brussels sprouts you will ever eat. I actually found the recipe for them, but it is far too complicated for me to attempt!
Next up was the Maguro Sashimi and Goat Cheese: bigeye tuna٠pumpkin seed oil٠ fuji apple. I’m a big tuna fan, so I loved this one. The goat cheese was an unexpected combination, but of course, it worked beautifully!
We were then served the Zero Sen: yellowtail٠avocado٠shallot٠ cilantro٠tobiko٠yuzu. This was the first sushi roll my Mom has ever had that she liked. It was also my first ever sushi roll without soy sauce. They suggest you don’t dip their rolls in soy sauce (though they do provide it as an option). I’m glad I didn’t ruin the flavors by masking everything in salty soy sauce. It was too delicious.
Next up was the Pitchfork roll: wagyu beef٠leek crisp٠ avocado٠yuzu kosho. I picked this one out just in case my Mom didn’t like any of the fish (she’s not a sushi fan, or at least wasn’t until now!). Another ball hit out of the park! So good. I loved the addition of the leek crisps to replace the typical crunchy stuff you find on top of sushi rolls.
It seemed like our food never ended! The waiter then came out with the Hamachi Nabe: baby yellowtail٠koshi hikari rice٠ farmegg٠soybroth. This was Uchi’s twist on fried rice. The flavor was so rich and delicious. I definitely have a new found love for yellowtail!
Next up was the Yokai Berry: atlantic salmon٠dinosaur kale٠ asian pear٠yuzu. This was another one of my dish choices because I read great things about it in reviews. The waiter said it was their healthiest dish. All of the flavors worked great together and the sauce was mouthwatering. It was a dish where you needed to make sure you took a bite of each element at the same time or you wouldn’t get the same delicious taste in your mouth.
Just when we thought we were about to get dessert, we were served the Machi Cure: smoked baby yellowtail٠ yuccacrisp٠marconaalmond٠ asian pear٠garlic brittle. It was described as a twist on nachos. The most delicious and creative twist on nachos ever!
Then, the waiter brought out one of his favorite dishes as a birthday surprise for my Mom, the Biendo: tempura shrimp springroll٠ nuoc mam٠grapes. I almost didn’t try this because I am not a shrimp fan. As I loved everything else, I took the plunge! The sauce was amazing, and all of the elements melded together perfectly. Yum!
Finally, we had dessert – the Peanut Butter Semifreddo with Apple-Miso Sorbet. This was by far the most original dessert I have ever had. It was incredibly delicious. The peanut butter flavor was not overpowering and each element of the dish was so unique and tasty. I really don’t even know how to describe the semifreddo – maybe a mousse like cake? It was just so good. The perfect ending to a fabulous meal!
I would highly recommend venturing to Uchi if you are ever in Houston or Austin. My parents promised to take Luke there when he arrives in Houston and I cannot wait to have my tastebuds wowed like that again!