Uroko, the new Japanese restaurant in East Austin focusing on hand rolls and omakase, is now open at 1023 Springdale Road, Building 1 in Govalle. Behind the new tiny fast-casual restaurant are longtime friends Kome co-owners Kayo Asazu and Takehiro Asazu and former Uchi chef Masazumi Saio.
The trio had been wanting to do something together for a while when the East Austin space with the Springdale General complex became available, which means it’s surrounded by a lot of creative and nonprofit offices. With Uroko, they “tried to do something suitable to this location,” explained Takehiro Asazu, “creative and healthy. “
The name uroko is Japanese for “fish scales,” and, fittingly, the menu is all about fish. Uroko also happens to be a three-in-one restaurant:
- First, there’s the temaki, aka hand roll, hours. The space lends itself very well to temaki because it’s “very casual and quick,” explained Asazu, and it’s “good for a very small space.” The simple menu spans traditional (tuna, hamachi) to standard (barbecue eel, grilled salmon, yuzu avocado) to creative (sake toro with umami cucumber, chopped raw beef tenderloin, crawfish tail salad). It’s available from Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and then from Thursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Then there is the reservation-only omakase menu, since only sticking to hand rolls “would be boring for us,” said Asazu. The sushi tasting menu isn’t meant to be an elaborate expensive one; rather it’s a 45-minute meal with 12 pieces that will cost $65. “I don’t want to go high-end,” he explained. Expect fun and creative nigiri pieces like salmon, tuna, hamachi, and sea urchin with fun garnishes and cures. It’s available on Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m.
- Then, finally, there are sushi classes. Asazu had been teaching private classes for a while, but now he gets to have the customers come to him. The hands-on sessions will highlight “how easy it is to make sushi,” he said. Even better: it will be open to children as well. These will be held on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with reservations at $75 per person.
Drinks-wise, the restaurant features a sake menu (which includes yuzu sake slushies), cans of Austin Beerworks, and drafts of Asahi. Non-alcoholic options include cult favorite Japanese soft drink Ramune, green tea, and frozen soy matcha lattes, among others.
Uroko’s physical space itself is curious. The restaurant is found within the first building of Springdale General. The building itself also includes the Front Page restaurant, as well as the forthcoming French bakery Julie Myrtille and Caffe Medici’s cafe and roastery. Eater photographer Courtney Pierce took a tour of the tiny ten-seat restaurant, featuring blue and white tiles, wood paneling, two seating areas within the restaurant proper, and the sushi counter.