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Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year, New Dishes at Uchiko

I'm fast becoming a regular at Uchiko these days.  After a quick learning curve, it seems that Uchiko is really starting to spread their creative wings.  Luckily, I've been a visitor many nights in which Chef Paul has unleashed some of his new dishes.  A big thank you to Chef Paul (@pqui), Chef Philip (@philly612), and Uchiko (@uchikoaustin) for sending out some really fantastic surprises.   Here's a showing of some of Uchiko's new and mostly rotating offerings.  Non-hipstamtic photos are by John M. P. Knox.

The Taka Nabe is no longer on the menu, for it has been replaced with this.  The truffled congee is a serious contender for the best dish I have ever had.  I mean ever.  It is giving the beloved shag roll and run for its money.  Shortgrain rice congee, shaved black truffle, green onions, collard green chip, togarashi spice, and lemon preserves makes this dish an interesting marriage of flavors and textures.  I love this dish.

Here's my Hipstamatic photo of the dish.

I loved the truffled congee dish so much that I make a macaron based off the flavor combination.  This is a togarashi lemon spice macaron filled with truffle oil.

Chef Paul isn't the only one there with a with license to be creative. Chef Philip Speer has also come up with some pretty fantastic desserts.  This one is the fig, chocolate and curry.  This combination of coconut curry, chocolate cameaux , dehydrated figs, candied figs, and fig sorbet was a mish-mash of interesting, traditionally unrelated flavors and textures, that turned into a delicious combination.  This dessert was so tasty that I made a macaron based off of the combinations.  I created some coconut curry macarons filled with fig chocolate.  I used confituras's fig and walnut conserve in the chocolate for the macarons.

Here's my hipstamtic photo of the chocolate, fig, and curry dessert.

Here's the Ko Antipasti.  Clockwise starting with 6pm is the foie quail torchon, cured wagyu toro, grilled grape, candied heirloom tomato, and crispy pork.  My favorite out of this offering was the crispy pork.  Crunchy and meaty make a great combination.

Nantucket bay scallops with parsnip chips, basil, and Japanese eggplant.  Those little Nantucket bay scallops taste just like candy.  

Grilled mackerel. 

This is another one of Chef Philip's dessert specials.  Deconstructed Pumpkin cheesecake.  This man is a genius. 

And another Nantucket Bay scallop dish.  Mmm.......these little babies are becoming popular on the menu. 

@Windaddict's/@hopsafari photos of scallops. 

Ankimo - monkfish pate, ponzu, momiji served in a small shot glass.  The ankimo was subtlely flavored with the smooth rich texture standing out.  If you haven't had ankimo before, it is called the foie gras of the sea.  If you're a foie gras lover, you'll love this dish. 

This dish is called the Jar Jar Duck, and it is quite an amazing dish.  On the bottom is a small layer of greens, duck confit, duck breasts, tomatoes, and maple bourbon.  We saw Chef Paul running around with a blow torch of sorts, and several minutes later he presented us with this dish.

Opening the jar let out the sweet and smoky aroma of duck fat and bourbon.  This dish was absolutely amazing.  The maple bourbon sweetened the salty and fatty duck, and the smokiness is amazing.  Simple amazing.  I'm  not sure how much longer this dish will be on the menu, but if you see it, order it.  Thank me later.

This dish is the quail onigiri.  That's rice stuffed quail served on nori, shiso, and strawberry boshi.  It is a Japanese version of a sandwich, otherwise called a rice ball in my house.  We used to make them with rice seasoning, shredded pork, and scrambled egg wrapped and shaped with saran wrap.  The onigiri should be picked up like a sandwich wrap with the strawberries giving it a sweet and tart contrast.  This dish is a cross between comfort, creativity, and "good grief that is tasty."  It reminded me of the onigiri I made growing up.  Kids at school used to make fun of my "weird" foods.  They were missing out.

@Windaddict's/@hopsafari declared this dish to be his favorite dessert of all time.  This is Chef Philip's take on the Wendy's Frosty with Fries.  It isn't a secret that I'm a lover of the Wendy's Frosty, and this dessert really knocks it out of the park.  A french fry cream borders the outside of the dish that is topped with a variety of sweet soils.  On top of that is a aerated and dehydrated chocolate shake topped with a creamy sorbet.  Many of Chef Philip's desserts require that you eat all of the components together.  When you eat each one of these components together, you'll get a time warp back to your childhood of fries in ice cream.  You might even be doing it as an adult.  Have no shame.  Chef Philip doesn't.

And here's some photos from the Jason Middlebrook event.  Chef Paul explains some ingredients at the Art House to a crowd of hungry onlookers.

Chef Paul shows us how to use a really sharp knife.  This photo also demonstrates why you should never anger him.  He carries a large knife, and he knows how to use it.

*Chef Paul is one of the coolest chefs in town, and I've never seen him angry.

Uchiko has changed in my book.  I used to visit knowing which dishes I wanted to to order.  Now that the creativity of the dishes have been amped up, I'm excited to see what new dishes are coming out of the kitchen.  If you're looking for something new and different, check out Uchiko again, and again.  They always seem to have something fun up their sleeves.   


  1. OMG, you have really gotten to enjoy some amazing dishes at Uchiko! Color me jealous. I NEED the Frosty and Fries dessert. Chef Philip does an amazing job, his corn dessert makes me feel like I'm 6 years old and eating corn pops while watching Saturday morning cartoons.

    Happy new year to you!

  2. Awesome photos!! And, the macaroons were delicious, thank you so much for the treat!!