Sunday, February 5, 2012

Uchi comes to Houston

{or the story of how we spent Superbowl Sunday}

I love to eat, try new cuisines and flavor combinations. I also love being vegetarian, which makes going out some what of a challenge in Houston.

Things seem to be getting better and better bit by bit. First Pondicheri Cafe started meatless mondays, which I am a tiny bit obsessed with.

Then Revival Market added a new vegetarian sandwich to their menu. (Did my tweet asking for one vegetarian item help? Who knows. I'll take credit for it though if I can.)

And, another Austin transplant restaurant just opened this week. My loving husband wanted to get us reservations for Valentine's Day but accidentally booked it for tonight instead of next Sunday. Ooops. I guess no one really goes out to eat during the Super Bowl, so at least we got a table and didn't have quite so many people to embarrass ourselves in front of with our kids and our own spills all over the place.

So excited to be going there opening week, I had to get a little dolled up in one of my new Jason Wu for Target scores.

Uchi is a sushi place, so the focus is obviously on fish, but there were plenty of options to choose from on the menu. Our waiter was super gracious about us being vegetarian as well in a way that I haven't seen in this city before.  Also, some of the only instagram-worthy food in the city too.

We started out with grilled endamame, which gave Avinash something to do between popping them open, tasting a few 'peas' and decorating the table and floor with the rest. Can you tell I'm rolling my eyes right now just thinking about it? Grilling the endamame was a really unique touch actually, and increased the flavor a lot.

We also had pumpkin tempura that was insane. The pumpkin (kambocha?) was sliced thin and fried to absolute perfection (and makes the rodeo food pale in comparison). Crispy but not greasy.  We may or may not have planned on sharing with the kids and then ended up finishing it up almost entirely ourselves.

Also noteworthy, the sake.  Usually I have no idea what I'm getting when I order one, but the menu had clear descriptions of all the drinks, which is how I chose "Bride of the Fox".  Which also is kinda meant for me because I loved Robin Hood growing up and always wanted a lotus ring like the one he gave Maid Marian in the forest.  We even watched it today after Avi's nap.  Perfect.  Oh yeah, the taste?  Sweet, floral, pear and a little bit of honey.  Ryan and I usually share, but this was not one of those times, ha!  (Again with the not sharing, no wonder Avi doesn't know how).

Panko breaded fried green tomatoes with sesame, spicy ketchup.  Our least favorite dish of the night.  They were crispy to be sure, but lacked seasoning and seemed undercooked somehow.   Even Nandini rejected this one.  (Why do they only want the good stuff?)  She did however love the crispy brussel sprouts topped with lemon aoili.  As did everyone else.  Luckily these were generously portioned and we easily shared.

One of the best bites I've had in a long long time was the Nasu sushi - Japanese eggplant on top of the most perfectly seasoned sushi rice I've ever had.  I could have eaten a huge bowl of it and I don't even like eggplant.

One of the specials was even vegetarian.  It was sunchoke tostones (basically fritters) with garlic sauce, crushed almonds and a special citrus gastrique.  Truly top chef worthy.  Easily compares to our fanciest dinners in New York City (at a much better price too).  Avi really liked this one as well.  I don't think Nandini even got to try any.  We also got Bond rolls, basically avocado sushi wrapped in soy paper.  The dipping sauce was interesting, but nothing compared to the eggplant.

Normally the kids are pretty decent at restaurants, especially Nandini who just happily and quietly eats.  Not today.  I had a wonderful Mommy moment when I had to take her to the bathroom to nurse because I was wearing a dress and then couldn't find anyone to help zip me back up.  Fuuuuun times.  Even I was embarrassed by that one.  One wonders why I am sharing it now??

Once the above arrived however we finally had peace.  Nandini apparently needed to top off her milk with a side of fried milk.  Avi polished off our sorbet.  Both were singing something in the backseat very loudly together on the way home and smiles finally reappeared.

All in all we loved it and will be back many times, preferrably with a babysitter.  Or two.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful evening!! You look lovely in your dress!! have a great day! :-)


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