The Daily Meal recently published our Best Sushi in America roundup for 2014, and in order to compile our ranking, we started by reaching out to leading culinary authorities to ask what their favorite sushi restaurants are, and we supplemented those suggestions with sushi restaurants featured in local reviews and pre-existing regional and local rankings. Although many of these restaurants also serve a menu of traditional Japanese food, we stressed that the primary focus must be on sushi. We then took that list of 112 restaurants from across the country and built a survey, with the restaurants separated by region. We invited our group of trusted panelists, comprising chefs, bloggers, journalists, and other culinary authorities, to vote for their favorites. Our final list showcased the 35 best, with one from Austin scoring the #21 spot.
For years, we bought the myth that sushi was an inviolable tradition, understood only by the Japanese and impervious to modernization. Then Nobu Matsuhisa came along to disprove the latter — and American chefs like Tim Cushman at O Ya in Boston and Tyson Cole at Uchi and Uchiko in Austin tossed both notions out like empty sake bottles. There's no telling what classicists would make of Cole's bigeye tuna with goat cheese, Fuji apple, and pumpkin seed oil; tempura shrimp spring roll with Vietnamese fish sauce and grapes; or pork jowl with Brussels sprout kimchee, romaine, preserved lemon, and crème fraîche; but the hungry Austinites who crowd this rustic house-turned-restaurant obviously eat it all up.
Uchi was ranked #21 in our compilation, and without any local competition mentioned on the list, it is unequivocally the home of the best sushi in Austin.