I finally dined at Austin’s fine dining Japanese restaurant, Otoko, located inside South Congress Hotel on South Congress! Otoko is set up with 12-seats in front of the bar and it only does 2 seatings a night so 24 lucky diners in one night. No walk-ins, you have to make reservations via their ticketed system, available in 3-month increments. In May, Otoko released seatings for June, July, and August. In September, Otoko will release seatings for October, November, and December. Otoko’s intimate cocktail bar, Watertrade, is open to the public if you want to try a cocktail or two.
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Otoko offers a multi-course omakase ($150 per person) that blends Tokyo-style sushi and Kyoto-style kaiseki into a unique tasting menu (selected and prepared by Otoko’s chefs based on ingredient availability and seasonality) in an intimate dining experience with Head Chef Yoshi Okai and a “sushi night” on Wednesdays, which is a traditional omakase-style sushi dinner ($200 per person). Wine pairings are available for $90/person, sake pairings are available for $75/person, and tea pairing ares available for $50/person.
From the moment we were seated, we were swiftly led from course to course by Yoshi of different flavors, textures, and scents. The 20-course omakase experience is hard to describe in words so I can only tell you to experience it for yourself!
Swagani, chayote squash, kikurage, and lime. Our meal started with a light salad with this tiny but surprisingly flavorful crispy crab.
Escargot, nanbanzuke (onion, carrot, chili), sushi rice cracker, and shiso.
First up is the sushi course. Chef Yoshi expertly slices and prepares each sushi in front of you and it’s seasoned perfectly so don’t add soy sauce!
3. WHITE SEA BASS
5. SHIGOKU OYSTER
Oops slurped the oyster too fast and forgot to take a photo of it.
6. MISHIMA WAGYU
9. HON MAGURO
10. HOKKAIDO UNI
Next course is two dishes served in bowls: ocean trout and sawara.
12. OCEAN TROUT
Ponzu, Asian pear, Mexican marigold, cucumber weed, frozen tomato.
Fresh onion, tosazu, ginger, dried shimeji, dinosaur kale.
Kinoko dashi, ramp, lamb’s quarter.
Hamachi and smoked tamari.
16. TAMAGO DOFU
Warm tofu with shrimp, maitake, edamame, mitsuba, ginger yuzu zest, Hausbar greens, and bubu arare.
Oyster mushroom, hichimmi, ramp, and sansho. This was one of my favorite dishes!
18. CHARRED AVOCADO SOUP
Dragonfruit, napoles, serrano, and mint.
Blackberry sorbet with freshly sliced peach and grape.
Natsu no uta. I don’t remember what the ice cream was but it was delicious and then I was alarmed to find fried grasshoppers. Mexican grasshoppers Yoshi clarified haha.
1603 S Congress Ave