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Sushi Bar Review – The Texas Tasty

Vaseline 3 months ago

Perhaps the fastest growing neighborhood in the city, East Austin has witnessed the birth of many new restaurants, with a diverse range of upscale cuisine to choose from. Typically served in updated historic homes, the Eastside culinary scene is rapidly expanding with a unique personality and style that combines the neighborhood’s intimate, homey atmosphere with gastronomic excellence. So it’s safe to say that Sushi Bar, the new Omakase restaurant at Cesar Chavez and 2nd Street, juxtaposes its unassuming surroundings. Inside the modest, seafoam green house, I had an unforgettable 17-course Omakase tasting, complete with curated sake pairings and A+ hospitality. This review covers the highlights of the meal, drinks and hospitality.

Food, sake and the dining experience

I stepped into Sushi Bar on a bright Tuesday afternoon and work was definitely for me. With 17 courses in total, I was excited and somewhat daunted by the prospect of it all. Upon entering, I was enveloped in the warm, dark mood lighting of the converted house, complete with dark mahogany fixtures. Sake bottles lined the walls of the lounge where the host instructed me to sit while I waited. I was quickly served a welcome cocktail: a sake-based grapefruit-rosemary concoction, as I took in my surroundings. It was sweet, spicy and bubbly.

With a coveted 10-seat dining room, the Sushi Bar is a reservation-only establishment that invites you to get to know the chefs and fellow diners. Omakase means “I leave it to you” in Japanese and is synonymous with Chef’s Choice. It is an experience that relies heavily on tradition, perfection and, above all, trust in your chef. An Omakase tasting thus includes a lot of guidance from the chefs on each plate, which enhances the experience and prompts reflection on the diner’s behalf. Omakase cuisine is so special because it emphasizes quality ingredients, time, technique and attention. Each item is served at the time of preparation, at the optimal temperature for the fish in that course. Notably, there is an absence of chopsticks or soy sauce, as per tradition. In addition, there is a range of pickled vegetables that serve as a palette cleanser.

So Chefs Aiko and Christian were extremely knowledgeable and guided the dining group and I through every bite. We started with a hand roll of tuna tartare, which was a perfect introductory course for the dishes that followed. The bartender recommended a sake pairing for the experience, with me choosing White Junmai Ginjo Sake, a fruity, slightly dry and green apple-forward drink. The next bite was scallop, topped with freshly shaved truffle. As decadent as it sounds, it was also wonderfully fresh and slightly sweet. Next was the spicy shima aji, which was citrusy and bright, with the perfect oiliness. Some of my favorite dishes were the buttery Indonesian snow crab nigiri, the otoro (tuna belly) topped with foie gras and the delectable unagi (eel). My second and final sake of the evening, the Imayotsukasa, emphasized notes of chocolate and cream, but still tasted remarkably clean and paired perfectly with the fattier fish. The dinner featured premium ingredients from both land and sea, with components including yuzu oil, fried shallots and kewpie mayo. Each course improved and expanded upon itself, complete with intense flavors of umami, sour, salty, sweetness and fat. The dessert, a black sesame ice cream with passion fruit and Italian meringue, has been on my mind since I left.

Conclusion

Sushi Bar was an A+ restaurant experience. I consider myself to have a thing or two about buying good sushi in Austin, but this was by far the best sushi I have ever tried in my life. Every sense was taken into account and subtly taken into account for our evening, from taste, to sight and sound. The homely atmosphere matched the traditional intimacy of Omakase, and this was brought to life by the incredible hospitality of the entire staff. Each course, paired with expertly chosen sakes, pampers the palate with a symphony of flavors, leaving a lasting impression of Omakase’s mastery. Sushi Bar is undeniably a standout destination for those seeking nigiri in East Austin’s dynamic culinary scene.

Alana Anh

I am an aspiring journalist, researcher, and public relations professional at the University of Texas at Austin. I am passionate about food, literature, culture and music!