Two girlfriends and I had a phenomenal dinner at Uchiko last Saturday. In my past visits, I liked it, but not as much as Uchi. I would now be hard pressed to decide between the two. They really brought their A-game, with delectable food and flawless but easygoing service.
We had: the hama chili (yellowtail sashimi, sliced thai chili, orange supremes); the ninjin bacon (grilled kurobuta pork belly, carrot, pecan soil); take nabe (japanese mushroom, koshi hikari, farm fresh egg, bushi), which my friend said was her favorite dish of the night; the spicy fried chicken; two pieces each of the blue fin, which was amazing; and two pieces each of hotate, one of my all-time Uchi favorites. We had the fried milk for dessert. I've had most of the desserts there, and they are all wonderful. The waiter recommended a bottle of cold sake that he described as "whimsical." I'm not sure about whimsical, but it was very tasty.
Service was exceptionally competent, and friendly without being overly familiar. They brought the take nabe out too quickly; we were still eating the fried chicken, and they took it back and remade it. That impressed me.
Overall, it was one of the best dining experiences I've had in Austin in a long time. It is not cheap (I think we spent around $100 each), but I think it's completely worth it for the food and experience, and I don't spend that kind of money lightly. In this case, I actually didn't spend it since my girlfriend treated us, but I would gladly pay that much for dinner there. That said, we had a ton of food and could've ordered less, so you could certainly spend less, too.
I can't wait to go back.
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