My most magical meal of 2016 was at Kyoten Sushiko.
Quite simply, it is the best sushi I have had in Austin and an incredible bargain at what many would see as a hefty price tag.
Kyoten is a transportive restaurant that could be just as at home in Ginza, Rapponggi, or Shibuya as the Mueller apartment building in which it resides.
The night we dined, there were 6 total diners seated in front of the wood sushi counter.
Chef Phan guided us through what must have been close to 20 small courses, 3/4 of which were in nigiri form that are served in single piece form to each of the diner and eaten before the next piece is served.
I am not the best at describing atmosphere so I will skip to the food.
All of the fish were at least in the top 5% of any of the versions of that fish I have ever had. A few (the lean tuna, the scallop, the abalone, the octopus, the horse mackerel) were the best versions I have ever had. The lean tuna especially was so different to all other lean tunas I have ever eaten. The single most introspective course was the aged a5 Wagyu (I believe the evening we dined it was Miyazaki) and the toro. The toro tasted of Wagyu and the Wagyu tasted of beefy blue cheese. The two pieces were so different to all other versions I have had before. The piece that is most dependent on chef skill, the tamago, was ethereally cakelike and again stands apart.
Chef phan works with a distinctive focus while still able to be humorous in conversation with his guests. There is thoughtful observation aplenty. My wife, for example who is a rather small woman, gets nigiri with a slightly smaller amount of rice to prevent getting too full. There are 4 different rice types that varies depending on the topping it is paired with.
We're not big drinkers but chose to go with the sake pairing. There are some incredibly rare sakes on the tasting (plenty of daiginjos). I am not a big drinker but these sakes made me realize that I have never really had great sake before now.
The evening ended on a dessert of perfectly ripened Fuyu persimmons. 2 hours of well paced bliss.
If you like sushi, go. If you are considering taking a trip to Japan and eating at a temple of sushi, it is incredibly convenient to have a local preview.
We are incredibly lucky to have Chef Phan open his restaurant in Austin.