There are a lot of great things at the corner of 42nd Street and Lamar. First of all, you can get great tacos AND great coffee. It is really a great thing. Of course having all that right across from your office is really hard to resist. So sometimes I give in. Like yesterday.
I tried the Guacasabi Tuna and the Akaushi Picadillo at Taco Deli. I loooove their Dona Sauce. I try not to smother my tacos in the green, creamy deliciousness, mainly because its so spicy that usually end up with a runny nose and teary eyes. And the tacos are really good all by themselves!
Right next door is Houndstooth Coffee. They serve up some great high quality brews and their staff is always super friendly and can answer pretty much any snobby coffee question you have. So don’t be afraid to ask!
And they are only open for dinner, but I highly recommend you all go and try Uchiko .
Oh Uchiko, just the name makes me flutter. Be still my heart.
Uchiko, the sister restaurant of Uchi, serves up fresh, modern and creative Japanese cuisine. It’s no secret that Paul Qui, of Top Chef fame, is the executive chef at Uchiko. One can sense his passion and flare immediately upon entering the bustling restaurant. I did not spend much time in the front bar area, as we were whisked away to our reservation at the sushi bar. The restaurant is dark and comfortable, with a sensuality that draws you in and makes you want to stay awhile. Uchiko was full, but not crowded, on the Tuesday evening that I visited.
The stylish Japanese fare dances on the plate. The presentation is architecturally precise and beautiful. The unlikely flavor combinations flirted on my taste buds and left me merrily satisfied yet yearning for more.
The Daily Specials menu– simply to die for.
Simple touches give a farmhouse feel contrasting the urban atmosphere of the restaurant.
Fresh herbs adorn the fish case at the sushi bar. The sushi chefs are entertaining to watch. The sushi bar at Uchiko would be perfect for breaking the ice on a first date.
My friend and I were celebrating a late birthday. This cold, creamy, nutty sake was the perfect way to start our sushi experience.
Sushi chef working his magic.
First up were Paul Qui’s brussel sprouts. Crispy greens with a lemon kick. These are not your grandmother’s brussel sprouts.
The daily specials menu included Shigoku Oysters, which are oysters with watermelon sorbet. I am an oyster lover at heart, and these icy cold oysters were the perfect way to cool down after a day of record breaking heat.
The magical thing about Uchiko is trying out flavor combinations that one could not even dream up. Oysters and watermelon? Who would have thought? This piqued my curiosity, and I was excited to see what was coming up next.
Bacon Tataki. The pork belly melts on your tongue and makes you want to scream, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” In tribute to Nora Ephron, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
The Hama Chili. This is one of my favorites that was brought over from Uchi. Far and away, one of my favorite all-time dishes. A must try for any patron.
Yes, the Hama Chili gets two pictures. The fresh yellowtail holds its own against the tantalizing spicy chilies. Underneath the yellowtail are slices of juicy, sweet, orange supremes. The oranges are ready to cool your palate.
Madai Sushi. A Japanese bream with Meyer lemon zest. The lemon punches your tongue afterwards. I enjoyed mine with just a touch of soy.
We chose the P-83 sushi roll because we wanted something fresh and not cooked in any way. The cilantro and avocado play well with the white sauce on the plate. Our sushi chef said this white sauce was his favorite.
The Shag roll brought over from Uchi, is a favorite among many and worth a try if you’ve never had it.
Our sweet server surprised us with this Heirloom Tomato dish off of the daily specials menu. The buttermilk sauce and toasted pistachios wonderfully complemented the juicy summer watermelon and tomatoes. This dish was both savory and fresh.
For the birthday girl, we had the fried milk dessert. It is creamy and sweet. The chocolate ice cream was perfect with the crispy fried milk.
The wait staff really outdid themselves and also brought us the tobacco cream dessert.
This dessert was purposely crafted and delicate on the plate. The tobacco cream was smokey and rich, meant to resemble the illusion of an after-dinner cigar. I loved this rich dessert, mostly because it was like nothing I have ever tasted before. It may be too much for picky taste buds, but for an adventurous foodie like me, it was entertainingly curious. I kept taking bites just to try and figure out what I tasted. This dish is like a puzzle for your taste buds. .
I walked out of Uchiko feeling as if I had just awoken from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Flavors danced around my head like sugar plum fairies. I cannot wait to enter back into this enchanting farmhouse for another creative and entertaining dining experience.
This wondrous evening was possible thanks to my friend Charisse Sayers, the Event Coordinator at Uchiko. For more details click here.