3/08/2013 04:01:00 PM

How to Eat at Uchiko Without Breaking the Bank

Hama chili
Uchiko is our city’s informal ambassador: its trendy yet casual atmosphere, creative small plates and well-known chefs epitomize the food destination that Austin has become. And whether you’re visiting the city or just want a memorable meal, it’s the place to celebrate. When most people think of the Rosewood restaurant, they think of $200 dinners, as well as master chefs Tyson Cole and (formerly) Paul Qui. If you’re really into saving a few dollars, check out the sake social menu, every day from 5 - 6:30. But to get the Uchiko experience, you really need to try the full menu. Here’s your how-to guide to spending less than $50 per person.

1. Small plates are where it’s at. Though both Uchi and Uchiko are considered sushi restaurants, the hot and cold shareable small plates and daily specials shine. The hama chili (yellowtail with orange supremes and delicately sliced Thai chilis) will satisfy your sashimi cravings, and the bacon tataki (pork belly with espresso fish caramel and black lime) will keep you grounded.

2. Keep your party to fewer than three people. For each person to try each small-plate entrée, bigger parties would have to order two of each dish. Maximize your bites by only bringing your besties.

3. Order the Jar Jar Duck. Yes, we know it’s $30, but it’s worth it. The rosemary smoke alone will prove why Food & Wine rated it one of the top 10 restaurant dishes of 2011, as will the smoked and confited duck, duck cracklings, pickled endives and candied kumquats.

4. Don’t scoff at the bar food and rolls. Remember all of those delicious-looking fried Brussels sprouts that Paul Qui made on Top Chef season 9? Yeah, you can eat those as well as the best onion rings you’ve ever had every time you visit the restaurant. Rolls like ham and eggs (katsu pork belly wrapped around yolk custard with espelette peppers and panko) and the p-38 (yellowtail, avocado, yuzu kosho, grilled negi and cilantro) stand out.

5. The takara nigori sake is only $4. With creamy notes of pineapple, it's quite good. Other than that, you’re on your own for alcohol, since, as we all know, that jacks up the price exponentially. Keep the party going after dinner with craft beers at Hopfield’s or craft cocktails at Drink.Well.

4200 N. Lamar Blvd.; 512-916-4808


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