Second Helpings: New Sushi

Chronicle Cuisines writer Wes Marshall surveys new sushi restaurants.

The weekly Chronicle feature "Second Helpings" offers readers the opportunity to sample tasty, bite-sized restaurant listings compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were compiled by Chronicle Cuisines writer Wes Marshall. When you need quick, reliable information about Austin eateries, check here.

Sushi Sake

9503 Research, #500, 527-0888

Mon-Thu, 11:30am-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11:30am-10:30pm; Sun, noon-10pm

From the moment you enter, you know this place is a little different. First, as befits the name, they take their sake seriously, serving premium brands cold (as their makers intended). Second, they have a long sushi bar with some of the most beautiful fish we've seen in Austin. Excellent selection, including terrific uni (sea urchin roe, $3.95) and tobiko (flying fish roe, $1.95). Unlike most other sushi bars, they sell one piece at a time instead of two.

Origami

In Round Rock, 110 N. I-35 #200B, 238-6522

Lunch, Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm; Dinner, Mon-Sat, 5:30-10pm

www.origamisushi.com

The land out north finally has its own sushi bar, and it's a good one. The orders come with two pieces and range from $3.50 to $4.95. Even better are the happy hour prices when Nigiri orders drop to $2.95. For you roll lovers, Origami offers 25 different types, including the Origami roll ($10.95, $8.95 at happy hour) created from tuna, salmon, avocado, shrimp, and crab. The sushi bar only holds 10 people.

Umi Sushi

5510 S. I-35, 383-8806

Mon-Wed, 5-11pm; Thu-Sat, 5pm-midnight; Sun, 11am-11pm

Umi Sushi aims to be among the top sushi restaurants in Austin. They opened in October with an aggressive menu with a sizeable selection of Nigiri sushi. The bar has 18 seats, but the restaurant holds 200 people. Each order includes two pieces. Prices are about average for Austin. For example, hamachi (yellow tail) is $5.50, uni is $7.50. They are quite proud of their Boat for Two ($37.50) and Boat for Three ($49.50), both of which include generous portions of Nigiri sushi and sashimi.

Kyoto II

4815 W. Braker Lane, #580, 346-5800

Mon-Fri, 11am-2pm; Sun-Thu, 5:30-10pm; Fri-Sat, 5:30-11pm

Intimate, attractive restaurant with about 10 seats at the sushi bar. Faultlessly fresh fish, though not as wide a selection as some others do. Good food, comfortable surroundings, and talkative sushi chefs can add up to a long and leisurely meal. Luckily, the prices aren't too high. The original downtown location has provided dependably good sushi in Austin for so long people sometimes take it for granted. This newer version is just as good.

Ichiban

7310 Burnet, 452-2883

Mon-Fri, 11am-10:30pm; Sat, noon-10:30pm; Sun, 4-10:30pm

Ichiban is Japanese for best, first, tops, No. 1. A big claim, but we've heard some regular customers who claim it's true, hand over heart. The place is constantly crowded, which means the fish turns over fast, always the best benchmark of a sushi bar. If you get tired of sushi, they also have first-class Korean food.

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