Sushi chefs Jared Black, second from left, and Kelsey Urbanczyk, third from right, prepare food Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018 at Uchi. (Daniel Brenner,
Special to the Denver Post)
One of Austin’s best restaurants, Uchi, opened earlier this month in — where else? — River North.
What should you expect at this creative sushi spot from chef Tyson Cole? (Who, fun fact alert, won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest in 2011, beating out Colorado’s finalist that year, Ryan Hardy of Montagna at the Little Nell.)
Besides the fresh fish, there are lots of beards, wood and quadrilaterals at Uchi — just not in that order. Wait, maybe in that order.
The menu is divided up into several sections: cool tastings, hot tastings, yasaimono (veggies), agemono (fried things), sushi/sashimi and makimono (rolls). It’s a mix of popular dishes from the Texas Uchi restaurants and Colorado-only dishes made by chef de cuisine Brandon Brumback.
And it’s not cheap.
You’re going to have to order at least a few plates per person, and those go from $3 for pumpkin tempura to $24 for the wagyu beef off the hot tastings menu. Rolls range from $10-$13, and are probably your best value outside of the happy hour (5-6:30 p.m. daily), where you can try smaller versions of menu favorites for $4-$8.
The machi cure ($18.50) — smoked yellowtail that you layer onto yuca chips with Marcona almonds for crunch and golden raisins for sweetness — and the biendo roll ($13) — a Vietnamese spring roll-inspired spin on classic shrimp tempura — are great examples of Uchi’s sushi-with-a-twist M.O.
Since opening, one of the diners’ favorite items has been the kinoko nabe ($18.50), a hot bowl that crisps up koshihkari rice to tangle up with umami-rich mushrooms and egg yolk. Another good hot dish is the walu walu ($16.50), a sweet, tangy, garlicky taste of oak-grilled escolar with ponzu and yuzu marmalade.
Desserts are creative, like the jasmine cream ($8) — trifle-esque layers of honey crumble, jasmine panna cotta, cilantro granita and frozen pineapple — and the pistachio choux ($9) — a pistachio biscuit with strawberry lemon jam, yuzu ice cream and pistachio cream.
Even if you don’t typically like sake, you should probably try one because you can drink it out of a box, which is pretty cool. (You can also drink it out of the glass, but what fun is that?)
The Denver outpost of Uchi is the first outside of Texas, so congratulations on that, Colorado.
Uchi: 2500 Lawrence St., Denver, 303-444-1922, uchidenver.com; Sun.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5-11 p.m.