Chronicle food critic Jessi Cape reviewed North Austin’s Sugar Pine, and had nothing but good things to say about the Japanese cafe. She praised the design, taste and aesthetics of menu items, and pleasant service, asserting that “it’s virtually impossible to dislike” the Research Boulevard restaurant.
Cape loved the “dreamy” space with lots of natural light, saying it would be a great place to chat over the cafe’s impressive drink selection (which includes tea, espresso, beer, wine, sake, and mead).
On the menu, Cape appreciated the variety of made-to-order onigiri (Japanese rice balls), which included plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Her favorite dishes were the “large, plump, and perfectly tempura-ed” shrimp tempura, the “simply delightful” salt-and-pepper tofu, and cold soba noodles.
For entrees, Cape enjoyed the fish and chips and tempura-fried eggplant, but saved highest praise for the chicken katsu:
I hate the word “craveworthy,” but my favorite such dish here is the juicy chicken katsu (breaded cutlet) set with creamy, robust Japanese oyster mushroom and potato curry – a steal of a deal at lunch.
Cape also loved the unique flavors of ice cream (watermelon Thai basil, miso caramel) and beautiful creations out of the bakery.