A new Japanese restaurant opened along South Congress with the debut of Neighborhood Sushi as of last week. This is the 17th restaurant from local group McGuire Moorman Hospitality. It’s found on 1716 South Congress Avenue in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood. The restaurant is only open for dine-in service for now, but to-go ordering will be added soon.
Neighborhood Sushi is a casual restaurant offering a wide-range of sushi, from nigiri to rolls to hand rolls, with options such as tuna, Gulf shrimp, squid, snow crab, charred enoki mushrooms, and wagyu short ribs. The sushi bar will also offer a daily omakase.
Other Japanese dishes on the menu include grilled fish collars, tosaka seaweed, seafood and vegetable tempura, and desserts such as fried ice cream sundaes and lychee jellies.
Drinks-wise, there’s an array of sake, from single-serving cups, drafts, to bottles, as well as sake cocktails. There’s also beer and wine, with the latter highlighting Austrian and German bottles.
Overseeing the kitchen are executive chef Jorge Garcia and chef de cuisine Vince Guerra. Garcia worked in various restaurants overseeing sushi programs at places like Chinatown and the now-closed Kyoto and Kenichi. He also spent time under Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto at the namesake restaurant in Honolulu. Guerra was part of the opening teams of Japanese restaurant Kome, ramen shop Ramen Tatsu-ya, and MMH wine restaurant June’s, as well as worked at Uchiko, Yume, and Titaya’s.
Neighborhood Sushi’s interior dining room features booths, banquettes, and a semi-private dining room called the Tatami Room, referring to Japanese-style rooms that make use of a specific type of floor mat. Outside, the sake garden, which faces South Congress Avenue, offers a smaller food and drink menu.
The South Congress address had previously been home to pizza shop Liberty Pie & Catering, run by MMH partner Larry McGuire’s mentor Lou Lambert, which is also where McGuire worked himself 20 years ago. Before MMH took over the space, the address hosted French-inspired tapas spot August & Marcel Wine Bar, American restaurant Little Brown & Barrel, casual spot The Woodland, and Lambert’s barbecue restaurant (which relocated to downtown Austin and is now part of the MMH family).
All MMH restaurants require that staff and guests (while walking around the spaces) wear masks, even prior to the city- and county-wide mandate issued last week.
When asked about MMH employees feeling safe about returning to work, a rep noted: “Everyone who worked with MMH prior to closing our restaurants has been offered a position and has been given an opportunity to return if they feel comfortable.” And when asked what would happen if an employee didn’t feel comfortable returning, they noted: “They would remain on unemployment.”
Neighborhood Sushi’s hours are from 4:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. There are two other Japanese restaurants in the same area as Neighborhood Sushi: casual restaurant Lucky Robot and high-end omakase spot Otoko.
Next up for MMH are two Italian restaurants in downtown Austin: Sammie’s (which is taking over what had been Hut’s Hamburgers) and Favorite’s Pizza (taking over what had been Favorite Liquor & Wine.