If you’re an Austinite, Uchiko needs no explanation — the centrally located Japanese farmhouse dining & sushi restaurant is legendary around these parts, and happens to be my personal go-to spot for just about any special occasion (It’s President’s Day, you say? Guess we have to celebrate at Uchiko!) Both Uchi and Uchiko have been dubbed time and time again as the “best meal in town”, so when our team was invited in for a private sushi-making lesson, we responded with a resounding, collective “Absolutely!” Click through for the gorgeous photos Chad Wadsworth snapped, plus some sushi rolling tips and world-class recipes…
Dining in Uchiko’s private dining room is kind of comparable to flying first class — you can never go back.
The team set up to make four of their signature rolls…
- the p38
- the Crunchy Tuna
- the Komaki
- the Kappa
Uchiko’s chef de cuisine, Page Pressley, made sure there was enough soy paper and nori (both used as a wrap for sushi) to go ’round.
The difference between the two: nori (seaweed) tends to get soggy, while soy paper doesn’t. However, soy paper is more fragile and tends to tear, so 2 sheets are typically used.
The white wine was flowing…
The private dining room has a window that opens to the kitchen, so we were able to huddle around the opening to get a good look while the Uchiko team did what they do best.
Some sushi terminology…
- Maki translates to “roll,” and mono means “thing.” Thus, makimono = “rolled thing”
- Futomaki = fat sushi roll, consisting of more rice and more ingredients.
- Hosomaki = thin sushi roll, generally containing only one ingredient.
First up was the Kappa Roll: cucumber & toasted sesame seeds, wrapped in nori.
When cutting the roll into pieces, the knife must stay wet so it doesn’t stick to the nori…
And the same goes for your hands when making a roll!
Then we learned how to make my personal favorite, the P38 Roll: yellowtail, avocado, yuzu kosho*, grilled negi*, cilantro stems, candied garlic chips*, nori
Served with: UCHI pitchfork sauce* & fried egg/boquerones aioli (an in-house condiment)
*yuzu kosho – an in-house condiment made with zested lime & lemon and diced garlic, all chopped to death until it’s almost like a paste. A little of this stuff goes a long way!
*grilled negi – grilled green onion
*candied garlic chips – made in house by mandolining individual garlic cloves, but store-bought crispy shallots are a great substitute!
*UCHI pitchfork sauce – thai chili, lemon & miso
The Crunchy Tuna Roll is a fan favorite, and is made inside out: big eye tuna, avocado, diced jalapeño (no seeds!), english cucumber, nori, rolled inside out and dipped in tempura flakes & white sesame seeds
Served with: fried egg/boquerones aioli (an in-house condiment) & sweet chili
A tip for spreading your layer of rice: roll it into an egg-shape with your hands, then place in the center of your nori and spread it out.
The Komaki Roll is a veggie roll and happens to be Tyson Cole‘s favorite: fresh romaine hearts, yamagobo*, roasted pickled red pepper, avocado, yuzu kosho, soy paper
Topped with: basil, mint, cilantro, sweet chili, base oil (an in-house condiment)
Served with: UCHI pitchfork sauce
*yamagobo can be substituted with baby carrots.
When cutting a roll into pieces, you first cut it into halves, then quarters, then eighths. The goal is for every piece to be identical so that when they’re laid on their side, the slices are flat all the way across.
Cara, Jennifer and Cristina getting in on the action!
The gracious team at Uchiko sent us home with our own recipe cards, plus gift cards to dine at Uchiko (read: gold).
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