Koko’s Suspension, El Naranjo’s Lamb Jam Win, Sushi Bar’s Guest Chefs, Uchibā and Yamas and Carve are On the Way, Bouldin Creek Dances a Foxtrot, and More

All the news that’s fit to get your taste buds quivering

Here’s some of what's happening in Austin's culinary scene – as wrangled from numerous PR releases, words on the digital street, and even the occasional (verified) IRL eavesdroppings.

Sushi Bar's new guest chef series raises the (sushi) bar of excellence even higher

Yes, citizen, it’s your “Food News Buffet” for the second week of June.

Ach du lieber! Koko’s Bavarian Biergarten & Brewery (4715 E. Fifth) has suspended operations for the summer – for renovations and maintenance, they tell us – and we look forward to when they come roaring back this fall with full Germanic might

We told you about the annual Lamb Jam chefs’ competition from the American Lamb Board a while back. Now we get to celebrate El Naranjo’s chef Iliana de la Vega’s winning of the People’s Choice award for her superb Albóndigas de Cordero, which features Texas lamb with a bean sauce, jalapeño, and Mexican pepperleaf jam. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of dining at El Naranjo (2717 S. Lamar), this culinary triumph will come as no surprise …

The movers and shakers of Hai Hospitality (who brought us the braggin’-right delights of Uchi and Uchiko and more) have announced that Uchibā, their Japanese bar and restaurant concept, will open later this summer in the Google Tower at 601 W. Second in the bustling heart of Downtown, with chef Vaidas Imsha presiding over the kitchen in a high-end haven of warm dark woods and muted tones, featuring a full bar of craft cocktails, Japanese whisky, yakitori grill, and Uchi classics …

Also soon to elevate the city’s trove of dining opps is YAMAS (5308 Balcones), a new Greek kitchen and bar from husband and wife co-owners Roxie and Hristos Nikolakos. The place is set to open on June 23 – with a soft opening and limited reservations beginning June 10. Chef Dimitrios Kelesoglou, a third-generation chef trained in traditional Greek cooking, aims to delight guests with a menu of signature dishes (feta and lamb and octopus and, you know, all those poli kala pinnacles of yum) in an airy interior resplendent with murals by Cabo-based artist Aurora Covarrubias

And CARVE American Grille, that fancy live-fire eatery from the beefmasters of Perry’s Steakhouse, will open a second location (in The Grove at 2613 Perseverance) on Monday, June 12, bringing such meaty marvels as their caramelized prime rib Thursday dinner, which features a mesquite-fired and crusted prime rib that’s caramelized, topped with CARVE steak butter, and served with a twice-baked potato and creamy horseradish …

When in Bouldin Creek, you might wanna dance your way over to Foxtrot (1804 S. First), now that the snazzy, internet-enabled, Instagrammable AF convenience-store brand has opened its largest location ever, offering “an all-day café experience,” along with local products like Bola Pizza, Chop Chop Ramen, Lick Honest Ice Creams, and more. Oh, this everchanging city, tell you what …

Summer is a-comin’ in and everybody and their sister in the restaurant biz is rolling out new menus, spiking their usual fare with lighter or sweeter or spicier treats for when things get a mite more ovenish here in the ATX. We’ve happily harbinged this in previous columns, so let’s not let the info momentum drop: Ramen Tatsu-ya (1600 E. Sixth) and its attached patio bar and event space, Domo Alley-Gato, are adding late-night ramen to the menus and expanding food-service hours to serve the full ramen menu until 11pm every Friday and Saturday. (Note: These two locations will be the first and only Tatsu-ya restaurants to offer late-night ramen.) And, as of June 6, Loro – that Asian smokehouse from Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole at 2115 S. Lamar – will be offering a weekly slow smoked pork shoulder bo ssam special every Tuesday and Wednesday after 4pm. The bo ssam is enough to serve 2-4 people and comes with lettuce wraps, Thai basil, cilantro, coconut rice, Thai green salsa, kimchi emulsion, and pickled vegetables … And chef Al Fini’s It’s Italian Cucina (1500 S. Lamar) has added cicchetti (kind of like tapas, see, but Italian) to their new menu, bringing much small-plate goodness right into the Mediterranean heart of pastaville. And Acre 41, the Otis Hotel’s destination restaurant upside the UT campus (1901 San Antonio St.), now brings its own posh steakhouse power to the table with USDA prime steaks, including a 36-ounce tomahawk ribeye, and classic accompaniments …

Meanwhile, at the always excellent Sushi Bar (2600 E. Cesar Chavez), chef Paul Liebrandt (previously of Corton and The Elm in New York City) will join chef Ambrely Ouimette to present an exclusive 20-course dining experience (highlighting rare fish, exclusive top-grade Wagyu beef, and decadent caviar) with two seatings on June 8 & 9. (Note: A complete lineup of guest chefs will be announced soon, and the program will run through October.)

Let’s see – what else, what else? Devil May Care (550 W. Sixth), that posh club of Mediterranean flavor and style has launched a Cigars & Whiskey series on their intimate upstairs terrace, where, every Wednesday (6pm-closing), whiskey and cigar lovers can escape for a mid-week soiréeSalt & Time has an Iberico Wine Dinner coming up on June 9 … the Fredericksburg Craft Beer Festival happens this weekend of June 9-10 … Monday the 12th brings a Pride celebration to Wine for the People’s happy hour … Wednesday the 14th’s got the Peached Tortilla flighting it up for National Bourbon Day and Desert Door Texas Sotol out in Driftwood releasing their new Amber Sunset expression with noms by chef JB GrossDeven Wilson reports on how local pastures bring the farm to the city … and our man-about-towns James Scott notes that the former Barbs B Q has opened a new true ’cue joint all brick-and-mortar in Lockhart

Early heads-up that the Driskill Hotel (604 Brazos) – where your current scribe recently enjoyed a cheese tasting, courtesy of those talented turophiles at Antonelli’s – is hosting a four-part Summer Beer Dinner series that starts on June 20. The legendary venue’s chefs Alondra Martinez and Kristen Groth will be partnering with the hopsy hooligans of Thirsty Planet (June 20), Independence (July 18), Zilker (Aug. 22), and Real Ale (Sept. 26) to create a tetralogy of beer-paired prix fixes in the hotel’s 1886 Cafe

WUXTRY! The Eastside’s Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons), as local and lovely as agriculture gets, will be celebrating their 30th anniversary on Sat., June 24, offering a small produce market, tours of the farm and its 1841 farmhouse, free fermentation classes, and more …

Now eat as well as you can, tip like it’s going out of style, and be grateful for the bounty of blessings you already have.

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