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Post from Devour Houston
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I had the honor and privilege to attend Uchi‘s Family and Friends Night.   Let me cut to the chase, one word sums up my experience: PHENOMENAL.  I do not exaggerate.  Uchi has been open for, oh wait, they aren’t even open as of today!   Yet, their service and food were AMAZING.    The servers have been in training for about a month…and it shows.  The knowledge of our server, Edgar, was outstanding.  His knowledge of the food ingredients, components, textures and flavors was as detailed and complex as the dishes themselves.  And, his opinion on wines and sakes was also in depth and knowledgeable.  Plus, he was just downright friendly and funny…as all the servers and staff were.  I had a GREAT time at Uchi tonight.  I cannot wait to go back.  Warning:  loved Uchi so much, my post is long!

Uchi

First, as you probably well know, Uchi opened its doors by Chef/Owner Tyson Cole in Austin in 2010 and has been setting the bar high ever since.  Tyson Cole won the 2011 James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southwest.  So, now, Yippee…Houston is finally getting our Uchi, too!  Located in the old Felix Mexican Restaurant off Westheimer in Montrose, Uchi Houston has been worth the wait.  The place is fantabulous!

We were fortunate enough to try several dishes.  Get your yumminess ready!  First up: Uchiviche ($12.00):  salmon, striped bass, tomato, bell pepper, garlic, cilantro.   Awesome-ness at its finest.  Very Fresh.  Actually, let me quote my dining companion:  “f-ing awesome!”  Yes, it was THAT good.  The perfect medley of flavors with the right amount of spice (thanks to the Thai chiles).  Wow.  Yum.  Actually, my dining partner wanted to lick the plate clean, literally.  But, I wouldn’t let him.  Thank goodness, we’d never be allowed back!

Uchiviche

So, next: Akami Tuna Loin – sashimi ($26).  Very fresh.  Very cold.  Very good.  Very tender.  Very delectable.

Akami Tuna Loin – Sashimi

Next deliciousness:  Bacon Tataki ($19.00): pork belly, black lime, coriander, citrus, espresso fish caramel.  The pork was super tender with excellent flavor.  The meat held up well all on its own (even better than Chris Shepherd’s, for you former Catalan fans…and his is/was fabulous!).  The fried onion was flash fried leaving all the good onion flavor in there.  The espresso fish caramel sauce + onion + pork bell = Heaven. 

Bacon Tataki

Then there was the Sasami Yaki ($12.00): oak-grilled chicken breast, lemongrass, cilantro.  The chicken was very tender and moist (soaked in coconut milk).  The perfect spices coated the outside, giving the skin a nice compliment to the meat.  Wow.   I believe you can always judge a restaurant based on how they cook chicken.   Chicken seems simple, but is easy to go wrong (and dry and tasteless and boring…).  Not this chicken and not with this killer sauce.  Yum. 

Sasami Yaki

And, then we had…. the Brie Ringo ($9.00):  tempura-fried brie, apple chutney, sweet potato crisp.  Hello, I love you fried brie dish!  This plate had it “all” as well.  Crunchy chip with soft cheese with crispy julienned apple.  Plus the saltiness of the cheese with the sweetness of the apple — I mean, completion.  Happiness.  The flavors melded well –the dish was music to my mouth.  The apple chutney even was a little ying and yang with sweet and spicy.  The light tempura batter on the brie was just enough to hold it together and give it a complex texture without changing the innocence of the brie.   Did I say Yum already?

Brie Ringo

And, last but not least, of course, Dessert:  Fried Milk ($9.00).  Yes indeed.  Fried Milk.  Chocolate milk, toasted milk, iced milk sorbet.  This dessert really nailed the complexities and excitement of adding harmonious combos together: various textures (soft, crunchy, hard, silky, liquid, solid), flavors (various chocolates of sweet and unsweet), temperatures (cold sorbet, hot fried cream).  A cornucopia of chocolate inspired art on a plate.

Fried Milk

The decor was nice as well.  Calming, yet enough hipness and energy to keep anyone satisfied with the eyes and ears.  Lots of wood and neutral colors with a POP of Red Asian-inspired wall paper.  Of course, sushi bar is present, but also an open kitchen.  A truly lovely place to visit, relax with a glass of wine (or sake), and take in the flavors, aromas, and magic that the kitchen is preparing.

Let me just re-emphasize that my visit was only the first night of Practice for Uchi Houston.  I can only imagine the level of excellence they will be acheiving in the next couple of months.  Their first night officially open to the public is February 2, 2012.  I, for absolute certain, will be going back soon.  The level of  service, the extraordinary care and freshness of the food, the great ambiance, all make for an amazing eatery for us in Houston.  We are lucky y’all! 

Uchi, Welcome to Houston!  May we be long friends.

Uchi
904 Westheimer
Houston, Texas 77006
www.uchirestaurants.com


Post from Devour Houston
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