Sushi aficionados waited nearly two excruciating years for Uchi, Tyson Cole's beloved Austin-born sushi staple, to open in Dallas — which it finally did with much fanfare on June 1. Unsurprisingly, the highly-anticipated spot in Uptown is easily the most buzzed-about restaurant of this spring.
Still, one has to wonder if a restaurant could possibly live up to two years of hype — but early reports on Uchi Dallas from critics and diners alike seem to be overwhelmingly favorable. Here's what people are saying so far:
The Omakase News: The chef-guided omakase service is generally the best way to judge a sushi chef's creativity, and the here the "leave it to us" menu seems to be a solid choice. Yelper Erik M. says, "Every plate I had was an original and untraditional but very Japanese presentation of beautiful, fresh fish or meat, with surprising and original accompaniments of traditional rice and salt, fresh fruit, and tasty sauces." There are a few omakase options at Uchi, the most indulgent of which is a 10-course tasting.
The Leslie Brenner News: Brenner has yet to file a formal review — look for that to come soon, no doubt — but she's already seriously digging Uchi. Brenner recently wrote that Uchi "seriously raises the bar for Dallas sushi," and that each dish came to her table "thoughtfully sauced" and "gorgeous."
The Reservations News: In addition to gushing about the food, Leslie Brenner also points out that reservations at Uchi are thoroughly booked up, with some prime dining times taken as far as three weeks out. Fortunately, as Brenner notes, the restaurant holds "between 40 and 45 percent" of tables for walk-ins, but you're probably going to be looking at quite the wait if you show up on Friday night sans reservation. Yelpers report being able to get a table within a half-hour at slower points in the evening (aka: later).
The Service News: Service seems to be a high point at Uchi, with Yelpers calling it "excellent," "stellar," and "the best" — even the valet. (One reviewer took issue when the restaurant refused to seat an incomplete party, but that seems to be an outlier.)
The Fried Milk News: If you aren't familiar with this sweet specialty from Uchi's genius pastry chef Andrew Lewis, you soon will be. Fried milk may sound weird, but seemingly every single person who tries it raves about it. According to Dallas food blogger ThatFoodieGirl, this combination of flavors and textures is not to be missed. One Instagrammer is equally enthusiastic:
The Hamachi News: Another standout dish so far is the machi cure, which chef Nilton Borges Jr. likens to "Japanese nachos." Many Yelpers cite the unusual combo of hamachi, yucca chips, golden raisins, and Asian pear as one of their favorite dishes, with one saying, "My friend had recommended the machi cure and said it would be hard not to order a second. It was!"
The Price News: Good sushi doesn't come cheap, and Uchi is no exception. The prices for Uchi's "cold tastings" and "hot tastings" are listed on the menu, but much of the sushi is market price, so it fluctuates from day to day. Nearly every single Yelp review of Uchi Dallas makes liberal use of the word the word "pricey," but the general consensus seems to be that this upscale spot is a good value for the dough you're inevitably going to shell out. If you can't splurge on the high-end omakase or uber-pricey Japanese Wagyu beef, it's entirely possible to assemble a meal out of the lower-priced small plates — the shrimp tempura clocks in at a mere $5 and a generous portion of the chicken karaage is 10 bucks, for example, while the previously mentioned machi cure is $18.