Kemuri Tatsu-ya debuted at the start of the year by co-owners and executive chefs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto, the team behind Austin’s famed Ramen Tatsu-ya. Located in the old Live Oak BBQ building on East Second Street, Kemuri Tatsu-ya is a Texas-influenced izakaya, a traditional Japanese pub. The mash-up of Japanese traditions and Lone Star culture reverberates in both the food and drink menus and the atmosphere. Here is the early word on one of East Austin’s newest must-try destinations.
The food — Austin.com suggested that the barbecue boat “felt like the cornerstone of the Kemuri experience.” The writer went on: “Brisket, pork, and barbecued eel played alongside standard ‘que garnishes, like pickles, jalapeños, and onion.” Sushi in the ATX pointed to the guaca-poke (tuna, fresh wasabi, creamy avocado, pickled red onion, and Kaiware sprouts) as her favorite dish. The Hungry Chronicles dared adventurous readers with the chinmi menu, with its “out-there dishes.” Save room for dessert though, Austinot recommended the roasted banana pudding with miso caramel, specifically.
The drinks — The sake-heavy bar program also includes beers, spirits, and wine that are reflective of both Texas and Japanese cultures. What’s more, “While you wait for your table, Kemuri Tatsu-ya has set up a rickshaw bar on the front patio where you can enjoy beer and sake,” explained The Hungry Chronicles. Nearly all reviewers highlighted the Puff Puff Pass, a fishbowl-style cocktail served in a puffer fish goblet made for sharing.
The space — The space is an ode to both the former Texas barbecue restaurant it once was and the roots of the Japanese izakaya it has become. “It’s almost cinematic in scope. Japanese and Texas antiques and artifacts adorn the walls from top to bottom. The decor is incredibly visceral and rich, telegraphing the food guests are about to experience,” described Austin.com. Sushi in the ATX added, “The warm handsome decor sets a unique mood with dark woods, lounge cushioned booths, low glowing lights and a playful mishmash of izakaya lantern signs and various Texas-themed relics. Both the dining room and sprawling patio feels comfortable and inviting.”
The overall experience — “I’ll get straight to it — you need to go here, immediately, “ declared ATX Eats and Treats. Girl Eats World concurred, suggesting, “bring your friends and order everything.” That said, watch your wallet, warned multiple Yelpers including Arielle M. Those small plates can add up and get “pretty pricey”.
- Inside Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s Funky Texas Izakaya, Opening This Week [EATX]
- Kemuri Tatsu-ya [ATXeatsandtreats]
- Merging the Best of Texas and Japan, Kemuri Tatsu-ya Shines [Austin.com]
- Gather at Kemuri Tatsu-ya in Austin for Japanese Small Plates [Austinot]
- Bring Your Friends and Order Everything at Kemuri Tatsuya [Girl Eats World]
- Kemuri Tatsu-Ya Opening January 5th [Sushi in the ATX]
- Kemuri Tatsu-ya: Austin’s Newest Japanese Izakaya [The Hungry Chronicles]