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Uchiko -- What would it feel like to win the US Open, the College World Series, or the World Cup?

If there was a tournament for new restaurants today, UCHIKO would know how winning would feel, as this restaurant deserves a trophy. Chef Tyson Cole unleashed his creative Executive Chef, Paul Qui, to create the menu for their “Japanese farmhouse”. The food spoke of the huge talent Chef Qui possesses. Just like Uchi, Uchiko is aiming for perfection. As we sat down and were greeted by Chef Cole, he told us that we were in for a night to remember. And WOW, we are still remembering! Uchiko was designed by Michael Hsu, aiming to provide an interior that is said to be of “aesthetic, crafted materials and warm finishes to round out the dining experience”. We really like the feel of the restaurant, starting with the backdrop at the entry, to the openness of the kitchen at the sushi bar, and continuing to the glass-front private dining room.

The comfortable feel of the elements of wood, leather, glass, and perfect lighting just added to the culinary experience.

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Now, for the food. Along with a Drinks list overseen by Wine Director, June Rodil, the menu is divided into 7 sections – TASTINGS (a selection of delicate hot and cool items); GREENS; GRILL;

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SUSHI & SASHIMI; MAKIMONO (sushi rolls);

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AGEMONO (a category of deep-fried dishes in Japanese cuisine); and DESSERTS, created by who other than Uchi/UCHIKO’s talented Executive Pastry Chef, Chef Phillip Speer.

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UH, oh – for our first dish, we will have to describe the dish only, because the Keeper Team Member in charge of photography went in full force before taking the picture. It WAS Kai Jiru, which is Atlantic mussels, in heirloom tomato water, along with basil blossom and celery. Great starter and so refreshing in the summer – this was a nice balance of salt and acidity.

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Kai Jiru - Atlantic mussels, heirloom tomato water, basil blossom, celery

After reining our photographer back down to Earth, we were WOWed with a dish called Koviche, composed of fresh day boat scallop over tomatillos, kalamata olive powder, black lime salt, and a corn flake tuille. The scallops were perfect, and they had a sweetness that paired well with the tomatillos, which were tart but not bitter. Our server suggested that we use the tuille as a chip under the layers of scallop and tomatillo, and yes that was a hit!

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Koviche, fresh day boat scallops, tomatillos, kalamata olive powder, black lime salt, corn flake tuille Our next surprise was Avocado Sushi Pieces with Yuzu kosho and tamari. The Yuzu Kosho is something special, and we think can be used in many ways, especially with fresh fish sashimi. Wish we could get the recipe for Yuzu kosho – hint hint, UCHIKO!

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Avocado Sushi Pieces with Yuzu kosho and tamari

Our next two dishes were sashimi. The first was amberjack and the second was mackerel. The Shime saba (mackerel) is so incredible and a NOT TO MISS dish, so we must focus our writing on this one. The Norwegian mackerel was salt cured and topped with heirloom yellow cherry tomatoes, a slice of fresh truffle, and basil microgreens. We did not want this dish to end. The mackerel was not oily or strong in flavor, but rather, melted in your mouth. Even though we dream of truffles dancing in our heads, we had no idea that truffle would take mackerel to this level – thank you UCHIKO.

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Shime Saba -cured Norwegian mackerel, tomato, truffle, basil

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Hiramasa Yaki - seared yellow tail amberjack, fennel, fuji apple

Surprise from Chef COLE – Grapefruit sorbet with a fine dice of avocado and asian pear, candied fennel chip – YUMMY

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Grapefruit Sorbet with a fine dice of avocado and asian pear, candied fennel chip AND NOW – to maybe, the dish of the night – Usagi yaki, a mold of rabbit confit that was made crispy and topped with fresh sweet pea, along with two sides- a lightly poached egg over pea puree and a pear, mustard seed sauce. The second picture shows the dish after the egg is broken and combined with the sweet pea puree – WOW!

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Usagi Yaki - crispy rabbit terrine, quail egg, pear mostarda, sweet pea

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Usagi Yaki - crispy rabbit terrine, quail egg, pear mostarda, sweet pea Two sushi pieces were next, one eggplant – one beef tongue.

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Nasu Japanese Eggplant, sumiso (on left); Gyutan Grilled Beef Tongue, fish caramel, maldon salt (on right)

Just when we wondered what else could be coming, we were presented with a dish from the Agemono section of the menu. Chef Qui created UCHIKO’s version of a great, fried chicken dish with a twist. Cornish game hen is dipped in a batter, fried, and topped with shaved onion and a medley of fresh greens. The dipping sauce is such an interesting combination using primarily sansho pepper and lemon. We are sure that some secret ingredients are lurking in there too.

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Chicken Karaage - Fried half cornish game hen, sansho pepper, lemon

We were then served the Oyster Mushroom Nabe – a hot bowl with rice, egg, oyster mushroom, parsley, and bonito flakes. If you want a great, filling vegetarian dish, this is the dish for you. The dish has many layers of flavor and is good comfort food too.

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Oyster Mushroom Nabe – oyster mushroom, rice, egg, bonito flakes, parsley

Many think “bacon fat rules!" Appropriately, we were brought the Bacon Sen, pairing pork belly with two completely different apple sides. The apple kimchi was our favorite of the two.

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Bacon Sen - Berkshire pork belly, fried green apple puree, fugi apple kimchee

For a taste of the ocean, try Uchiko’s Uni sushi – Uni lovers will not be disappointed.

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Uni Sushi

Of course, not one, but two desserts from Chef Speer appeared! These desserts were both very creative and unique. We are always amazed at Chef Speer’s desserts.

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Sweet Corn Sorbet, Polenta Custard, Caramel Salt, Lemon

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Chevre Fondant Tomato Sorbet, sicilian pistachio croquant

At this dinner, UCHICKO knocked it out of the ballpark, only had birdies and eagles, and won with a hat trick. Chef Qui worked intently throughout the night overseeing the taste and presentation of his creations along with the rest of the crew.

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Chef Paul Qui & Crew

We counted 17 chefs/sous chefs in the kitchen, along with 9 chefs manning the sushi bar – quite impressive. The service had Uchi written all over it – upbeat, caring, customer-oriented focus. We can’t wait to go back to UCHIKO and often.

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