The countdown is on for the opening of Uchi's acclaimed sister restaurant. Houston's Uchiko will open its Galleria-area location on May 23, owner Hai Hospitality announced.
Located in the recently constructed Zadok Jewelers building on Post Oak Boulevard, Uchiko has a more rustic, farmhouse aesthetic than Uchi. While its cuisine is still grounded in Japanese flavors and techniques, a yakitori grill gives many dishes flavors of smoke and char.
Chef de Cuisine Shaun King comes to Uchiko with an impressive resume that includes working at Momofuku Las Vegas, Mina Group’s Ramen Bar, and The Dawson in Chicago. He'll be responsible for utilizing both Japanese binchotan charcoal and post oak to create both hot and cold dishes with smoked, grilled, or cured elements.
Diners will be able to experience those smokey flavors in dishes such as dry-aged duck with house hoisin and salted and hearth roasted cabbage as well as the "Charred Onion Aged Bar N Ranch Beef" that's served with foie gras au poivre and hearth-roasted lobster that's wrapped in banana leaves and served with confit king trumpet mushrooms. Smoked elements also make their way to executive pastry chef Ariana Quant's desserts in the form of choices such as S'mores with binchotan-toasted marshmallows and Baba au Toki Whisky that includes charred pineapple.
Of course, Uchi staples like Hama Chili, Sunomono, Hotate Crudo, and the P-38 roll will also be available. Diners who want the restaurant's guidance in crafting their meals may opt for either five or 10-course tastings.
Unlike Uchi, which only serves, beer, wine, and sake, Uchiko features a full bar that includes cocktails and Japanese whisky. Featured sips include the Fūjin (Japanese whisky, homemade smoked fig, and allspice liqueur), the Kusuri (a Penicillin-inspired mix of bourbon, ginger syrup, and lemon, topped with in-house barrel-aged tamari whiskey), and the Tea Smoked Martini that's made with gin, smoked gin concentrate, and jasmine tea. The restaurant's wine list features more reds than Uchi in order to have varietals that pair well with smoked dishes.
"It is amazing to think that ten years ago we opened our first Uchi outside of Austin,” founder and executive chef Tyson Cole said in a statement. “This community has been so supportive and so welcoming that it seemed right to bring our first location of Uchiko outside of Austin to this market.”