Statesman critic Matthew Odam started his review of sushi and temaki restaurant Uroko by admitting he once again missed a contender for his list of 50 best restaurants in Austin. He wrote that the casual East Austin Japanese restaurant, which opened in May, should have had a spot in the top 25 ranked portion. However, his problems securing an reservation to the omakase — only served Fridays, Saturdays, and Mondays — prevented him from visiting in time for the guide.
Odam liked Uroko’s lunch offerings, which do not require advance planning, calling the basic rolls “well, basic” and recommending the Chef’s Creation rolls instead, like a sake toro roll with “lush fatty salmon,” lemon miso, and ginger and a beef tatayaki with “an aged steakhouse glow.”
Regarding the omakase, Odam said Uroko is “one of the city’s best destinations for sushi thanks to exciting flavor profiles, precise execution and solid value.” He found that chefs Takéhiro Asazu (of Kome) and Masazumi Saio (formerly of Uchi) bring unique takes to each roll:
A supple piece of aji (horse mackerel) cured with salt and vinegar arrives one night from chef Také beneath a piquant mix of grated ginger and wasabi stem, and another night chef Masa punches up the fish’s miso ginger sauce with unexpected powdered garlic and green onions.
Odam said that the “voluptuous” Scottish salmon roll reminded him of why he fell in love with sushi, and called a fried shrimp shell “bacon from the sea.” He rated the restaurant a nine out of ten.
Austin Monthly critic Jolène Bouchon named her best new restaurants of the year. While new Mexican restaurant Comedor took top honors, eight others received recognition:
- Comedor: “a seductive snapshot of all that is happening in Mexico’s cosmopolitan capital city.”
- Arlo Grey: “skillfully toes the line between approachable and high technique.”
- Carpenter’s Hall: “This is Hill Country–sized comfort food, elevated to the extraordinary by excellent ingredients and a meticulous sense of place.”
- DipDipDip Tatsu-ya: “cheeky, yet always haute and skillful”
- InterStellar BBQ: “supple, mahogany-barked brisket and luscious pulled pork”
- Oseyo: “a Korean-American tale told in courses.”
- Swedish Hill: “one of the best deli menus around”
- Vaquero Taquero: “Street tacos built around sturdy house-made tortillas are equal parts fire and heart”
- Vixen’s Wedding: “Riffing on the bold, fiery flavors of Goan cuisine, Duplechan applies them to Texas ingredients”