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Dining Guide

Otoko

Head chef Yoshi Okai is now the ringmaster at Otoko, while celebrated executive chef Paul Qui completes drug rehab following being arrested for assault, a charge he denies. Live and in person most nights, Yoshi helped design the breathlessly anticipated 20-course tasting menu, served at a 12-person counter in an intimate, strikingly modern space to a sound track that swerves from sophisticated to raucous (yes, “fat bottomed girls” still make the world go round). On our visit, nearly half the offerings were sushi, one splendid example being amberjack, its silvery scales glistening above pristine pink flesh dabbed with Meyer lemon, flaky sea salt, and nikiri (a soy and sweet wine glaze). The succession of textures is genius (we recalled the crackle of teeny fried smelt as soon as the silky Hokkaido sea urchin touched our lips, its sweetness set off with smoked char roe). Many times we smiled (over translucent strands of jellyfish, the alien moist crunchiness a sharp contrast to baconlike fried shiitake and tart pickled plum sauce). Occasionally we frowned (after sampling hamachi with a harsh smoked-tamari sauce). We even grimaced (who but a child could stand strawberry-tinged shaved ice with sweetened red beans and cloying condensed milk?). But only you can decide if it’s worth $150 (not including drinks, tax, or tip) for an experience like nothing else in Austin.

City: Austin

Cuisine:

Drinks: Bar

Price: $$$$

Rating: ★★

Address: 1603 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX, 78704

Hours: D Wed–Sat.

Phone: 512-524-2244

Website: otokoaustin.com/

Last updated: April 5, 2016