The Austin import, which also has locations in Houston and Denver, is almost daunting in its reputation for extremely expensive high-end Japanese cooking. But Uchi’s friendly service keeps the experience grounded, and its sushi bar does phenomenal work. The restaurant is taking safety seriously, too, requiring reservations for every diner and barring tables for 10 or more guests. Anything raw is bound to be good, especially seafood ordered off the list of daily specials. We’re less excited about some of the cooked dishes; Uchi has a predilection for overthought dishes, cloying fruit sauces and unnecessary flavor clashes. If you want to sample it all in the safety of your own home, there are lavish multi-course dinners available to go, which include a bottle of wine and breakfast biscuits for the next morning.
Top pick: The only thing better than the ultra-traditional preparations of the day’s freshest fish, printed on a separate menu card, is the melt-in-your-mouth sashimi made from gyutoro (braised beef shortrib).
Fun fact: You can order many of Uchi’s dishes at the more casual bar upstairs, Uchiba. Uchi is a relaxing, comfortable space, but the upstairs bar is just a bit more fun.