Austin is famous for its tacos, BBQ, and music festivals like Austin City Limits. However, not many people know that it’s also a great place for sushi. Yes, deep in the heart of Texas, you can find excellent sushi restaurants such as Otoko, Maiko Sushi Lounge, Soto, and Tomodachi Sushi. And without a doubt, the reason behind this sushi boom is largely due to Tyson Cole, who opened a small restaurant called Uchi 21 years ago on South Lamar Boulevard.
The name Uchi is derived from the Japanese word for “home.” It quickly gained popularity and became renowned statewide and eventually nationwide after Chef Cole won the James Beard award for Best Chef in 2011. The Uchi empire has expanded, and now Uchi Scottsdale will be the seventh location under the Uchi umbrella, joining Uchi Austin, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, and Los Angeles.
In 2016, after watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I wrote a post aptly entitled Marcella Dreams of Uchi about my first dining experience at Uchi in Dallas. It was one of my culinary bucket lists that I was thrilled to check off. Since then, I have dined at Uchi and Uchiko in Austin and several times on our various trips visiting family and friends.
You can only imagine my excitement when I heard Uchi was expanding into Scottsdale. Located in the historic Bandera restaurant in the heart of Old Town, Uchi has a seating capacity of 207 guests, including bar seating and a beautiful outdoor patio. The space has undergone a remarkable transformation that includes a sculptural wooden ceiling inspired by southwestern ramadas, along with artwork and lighting from local and national artists. Executive Chef Blake Luecke of Bakersfield, CA, leads Chef Cole’s team in serving innovative sushi dishes, including signature sushi and sashimi, makimono, yakimono, tempura, and an ever-changing omakase.
To celebrate the upcoming opening, I was asked to host a dinner party in our home catered by the incredible Uchi Scottsdale staff to showcase some of the restaurant’s signature dishes. It was beyond exciting for me, and I wanted to share the 11-course tasting menu with my readers. To set the scene, I created an Asian-inspired tablescape with driftwood, moss, river stones, and terrariums filled with succulents from a local store called Jade and Clover. Please check out my post on Uchi Dallas from 2016 here and drop me a line in the comment box if you have been to Uchi yourself. Until next time, kanpai! xoM
About me: I started this humble little blog in 2013 to work my way through the grief of losing my mother. She and I loved to exchange pictures and stories about the places we dined and visited, and the blog was a way to continue that conversation. Talking about food, wine, spirits, and travel also gives me tremendous joy, and my hope is that I can, in some small way, spread some of that joy. While Hai Hospitality hosted the dinner, all views are my own.