Second Helpings

Sushi, part I

"Second Helpings" is compiled from new and previous reviews, guides, and poll results. This week's entries were updated by Erin Mosow. For more on Austin eateries, check here.


419 Colorado, 320-8883 Sunday-Wednesday, 5:30-10pm; Thursday-Saturday, 5:30-11pm
We have to appreciate a sushi restaurant that offers freshly ground wasabi root, more than 20 different types of sake, and Kobe beef carpaccio. We were delightfully impressed by a cuisine that was not only beautifully packaged, but thoughtfully conceived and well prepared, if expensive. All the fish dishes are fresh and wonderful, but their Five-Spiced Sika Deer ($28) is one of the best game dishes in Austin. Kenichi is a place of voyeuristic excitement, where the trendiness of its clientele is matched equally by its decor. Thankfully, their very professional waitstaff manages to make each customer feel like a celebrity.

Kyoto I

315 Congress, 482-9010 Monday-Friday, 11:30am-2pm; Monday-Thursday, 6-10:30pm; Friday-Saturday, 6-11pm
The original Kyoto, located above the Elephant Room on Congress Avenue, has provided dependably good sushi in Austin for so long, people sometimes take it for granted. This Austin eatery provides a nice mix of austerity and comfort. Service is attentive, and the sushi chefs are quite knowledgeable. While the sushi is outstanding, some of the Japanese dishes sometimes sacrifice innovation for consistency. Their second location on Braker is closed for remodeling – no word yet on when they'll be up and running or if the new space will still be Kyoto II.

Sushi Sake

9503 Research #500, 527-0888 Monday-Thursday, 11:30am-10pm (Mondays only, closed 2-5pm); Friday, 11:30am-10:30pm; Saturday, noon-10:30pm; Sunday, noon-10pm
You know this Austin favorite is a little different from the moment you enter. 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 in Austin. Excellent selection, including terrific uni and tobiko. Unlike most other sushi bars, they sell one piece at a time instead of two.

Umi Sushi

5510 S. I-35, 383-8806 Monday-Saturday; 11:30am-2pm; Monday-Thursday & Sunday, 5-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 5-11pm
Umi has become one of the top sushi restaurants in Austin since opening in 2000, offering an aggressive menu with a sizable selection of nigiri sushi. This South Austin strip mall resident brings back sushi lovers from all over town with a great product and stellar chefs. Their commitment to quality earned them several Chronicle Restaurant Poll victories, including Critics Pick for Best Sushi 2003. Besides a long and lush sushi bar, there is also a delightful drinking bar, beautiful art and furnishings, and an elegantly understated dining room.
Origami (Photo By John Anderson)


110 N. I-35 Ste. 200-B, Round Rock, 238-6522 Monday-Saturday, lunch, 11am-2pm; dinner, 5:30-10pm
This family-run restaurant is the product of Kyoto I's former management and worth the drive north to Round Rock. Considered one the top five sushi bars in the area, Origami has earned a loyal following with its expansive selection of rolls. The sashimi and sushi menus cover every conceivable want, and diners can order combination platters if they don't want to have to make their own decisions. The rolls are always incredibly fresh, including their Origami Special made with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, squid, shrimp, and salmon roe.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle