Culture / Foodie Events

The Personification of Sushi

Uchi’s Lionized March into Dallas

BY Roni Proter // 06.16.15
photography Stephen Dux

Uchi Dallas opened in early June with a ready-made cult following, which makes scoring a coveted weekend reservation nearly impossible. The original outpost and its second incarnation, Uchiko, are both in Austin. Uchi Houston followed, and locals have been anticipating the Dallas launch for nearly a year.

Founder and executive chef Tyson Cole, who worked with architect Michael Hsu on designing the space, says, “I opened Uchi 12 years ago in Austin in a 2,500 square-foot house and I wanted to make the best sushi in the world.” Towards that goal, Cole was named Best New Chef in 2005 by Food & Wine Magazine, and in 2011, he was awarded a coveted James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest.

Uchi Dallas maintains many of the original design elements, such as the signature red wallpaper and intimate illuminated warmth, yet finishes are smoother and curvier in this new location, with art from Austin’s Magda Sayeg. The menu has also been elevated and expanded. “People come here for the core menu,” Cole says. “They get satiated, but now we have an opportunity to give them something new, beyond satiated — it’s surprised.” The menu is divided into Cool Tastings such as Uchiviche (salmon and striped bass with tomato and cilantro) and Hot Tastings with Oak-grilled Escolar with candied citrus, and the Bacon Steakie (pork belly with citrus and Thai basil). But Uchi experts often order from the specials menu, which changes daily according to farm-fresh items sourced by local farmers. Chef de cuisine Nilton “Junior” Borges says, “We go after the best ingredients we can get on an everyday basis, and we support our local community, it’s something very dear to our heart.” Fish, on the other hand, is flown in daily from Tokyo to ensure freshness and superb quality. Chef Borges says one item not to be missed in the Dallas location is the warm, sizzling Duck Nabe — crispy rice, similar to a Korean rice bowl, with either duck or fish. Other creations to emerge in Dallas are 72-hour braised Wagyu beef short ribs served with Asian pear; cuttlefish with pickled ramps; and whipped foie gras served with heart of palm and local pea tendrils, hazelnuts and edible Texas flowers.

Uchi Dallas is no longer a mystery, but one surprise remains: Cole and his team are working on a new concept on the floor above the restaurant, which has yet to be unveiled. 2817 Maple Ave., 214.855.5454.

Video produced by Rebecca Combs.

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