Second Helpings: Japanese
Tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Chronicle food writer Mick Vann. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.
1807 Slaughter Ln., Ste. 225, 292-1580
Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm; Mon-Sat, 5:30-10pm
Shogun is the far-South option for lovers of Japanese cuisine, with 24 different lunch specials offered between $5.25 and 6.95. A full menu of fresh and firm sushi selections are also available. Shogun has a great assortment of appetizers, from which diners can make their own kaiseki dinner, or go with the specials menu, the large selection of noodle dishes, or any of the standards. Be sure to try the Sunomono salad of crab, cucumber, and seaweed.
2120 Guadalupe, 320-0657
Sun-Fri, 10:30am-3:30pm, 4:30-9pm; Sat, 11am-9pm
Banzai offers the UT Japanese junkies their fix, right next to the old Quack's. Very reasonable prices for a somewhat limited menu, but all the bases are covered, including sushi. Lunch specials include sushi and main dish items for around five bucks, or the Bento Box combos for $7. All the noodles are represented, along with katsus, tempuras, and teriyakis. Be sure to try the unagi (sweet glazed eel) in sushi form, or over rice ($4.99) -- it's a delight. Nice vegan selections.
2900 W. Anderson, Ste. 250, 451-4811
Mon-Sat, 10:30am-9pm; Sun, 11am-8:30pm
Zen offers quick Japanese fast food at really great prices for the diner on the go. How great are the prices? Try four pieces of Spicy Tuna Roll for $2.09 or a side bowl of Udon Noodles for a buck! The menu is somewhat limited, but most categories are covered, from sushi to salads, teriyaki to rice bowls with toppings. It's easy for a diner to customize the meal, getting as much or as little as desired. Zen is perfect for that healthy Japanese food fix when you're in a rush.
4815 W. Braker Ln., Ste. 580, 346-5800
Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm; Sun-Thu, 5:30-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30-11pm
315 Congress, Ste. 200, 482-9010
Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm; Mon-Thu, 6-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, 6-11pm
Sushi's the thing at both locations, and fine sushi it is. But there are other options to choose from, such as kushi teri (skewers of chicken, beef or veggies), katsu, teriyaki, tepanyaki, sukiyaki, tempura, and yakisoba. The most expensive menu item is also the most economical: Combo B, which is shrimp and veggie tempura, grilled salmon, seafood kushi, and sushi, with all the trimmings for $19.95. One of Austin's Japanese mainstays.
7310 Burnet, 452-2883
Mon-Fri, 11am-11:30pm; Sat, noon-11:30pm; Sun, 3-11pm
Ichiban is one of the favorites of the native Japanese in Austin, considered a good sign by non-native diners. They offer some Korean fare as well as all of the traditional Japanese items, and of course, sushi (considered by many to be in the top three of Austin's sushi restaurants). A major plus at Ichiban is large entrée portioning and a focus on taste as well as artistry of presentation. You'll find efficient service in the Japanese tradition. Love those late hours!
9070 Research, 451-7505
Sun-Thu, 5-10:30pm; Fri, 5pm-1am; Sat, 5pm-midnight
At Benihana, the show's the thing, with chefs cooking at your table hibachi with a flurry of flashing steel and leaping flames. But the food is surprisingly good as well. The prices might seem a little on the high side, but you get a lot of chow for the price, not to mention the entertainment value. Interesting sides and a full sushi menu are also available, and your kids will go nuts over the dazzling cooking activities.
13492 N. Hwy. 183, 918-8012
Mon-Fri, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30-10pm; Sat, 5:30-10pm; Sun, 5-10pm
Osaka is the fave of the far-flung Northwest Austin and has a solid reputation for its outstanding sushi presentations. The atmosphere is serene, sedate, and cozy -- perfect for family dining or that maybe-baby date. Aside from the sushi bar, Osaka has a fairly complete selection of traditional Japanese fare, all prepared with care and concern. If you find yourself jonesing for a Japanese fix in the upper left-hand corner of town, Osaka is hard to beat.
2501 W. Parmer Ln., Ste. 500, 834-9304
Mon-Fri, noon-2pm, 5-9pm; Sat, noon-9pm
Azuma is the North Austin spot for futuristic fast food in the Nipponese style. Service in this hip, happening hangout is rocket-fast, and many diners get it to go, though the red booths beckon (if one is available). The menu offers a multitude of choices, with many sides available for a buck or so. Sushi, noodles, soups, tempuras, teriyaki, and more can be had for a song. Azuma is the slick spot for people-watching while lingering over Green Tea Ice Cream.
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