Austin Sushi, Two Places to Try
Updated: Sep 1, 2018
Last week was just one of those weeks where I couldn’t bring myself to go to the grocery store. So instead of doing the adult thing and going to buy fresh ingredients I could make into healthy and economical meals, I had quite a few meals in restaurants and then whined when my checking account looked dangerously low. Oops. Without planning on it, three of those meals ended up being sushi, so I thought I would compare the three of them.
The week started out with an impromptu lunch with my fellow Chickster editors at Maki, which is located in the Arbor Walk shopping center in North Austin. This was my second time at Maki, and they really just can’t be beat for price. For less than $8, I got miso soup and a spicy tuna roll that was big enough to leave me feeling stuffed. Maki’s approach to sushi is untraditional. Borrowing from Chipotle and Subway, you walk up to a counter and pick exactly what goes into you roll, from the meat (basics like unagi and spicy tuna all the way to cooked beef), soybean wrapper or no, fillings (avocado, mandarin oranges, japanese carrots, asparagus, etc.) and sauces (I love the wasabi mayo). Some people are understandably squeamish about eating fish that’s sitting behind a counter, but the rolls at Maki taste very fresh. The white interior and its accents of bright colors add to that feeling. If you’ve got someone in your life who is new to sushi, Maki provides a non-threatening introduction, because if the fish just seems too much, they can get a roll with beef and cream cheese and drown it in sauce.
Mid-week my husband and I decided to check out a sushi restaurant in our neighborhood that came widely recommended called Tomo. Located off West Parmer, Tomo is tiny, but beautiful, decorated with modern art and exposed wood beams. That aesthetic extends to their food too. We ordered three rolls—Say My Name, Ex-Girlfriend (the stunning beauty in the photo above) and 007 (bonus points for creative naming!)—and they arrived at the table truly looking like works of art. And they tasted even better than they looked with every ingredient fresh and flavorful. It was definitely the best sushi I’ve ever had, and the price reflects that. In fact, the meal was so good, that we were easily persuaded to try their dessert. We ended up picking the tempura ice cream, and sweet Jesus, was it divine. If a Twinkie and ice cream had a baby, it would not be as good as that tempura ice cream.
Finally, on Saturday night we checked out Silhouette (now closed), a sushi restaurant downtown. We’d never been before, and while the atmosphere was warm and romantic inside, we should have known by the fact that the entire place was only a quarter full on a Saturday night, that it wouldn’t be the best culinary experience. It wasn’t. We started off with a dumpling appetizer that reminded me of a Lean Cuisine I used to love. Maybe we’d been spoiled by Tomo, but the sushi didn’t taste fresh. In fact, it was kind of chewy. But the meal did have its good points, in addition to the nice ambience. My strawberry saketini was delicious, and my husband and I both became green tea ice cream converts after a fantastic dessert course that also included cream puffs.
So, when it comes to do it, for the most sushi bang for your buck, you might want to hit Maki, but if you’re ready to step up your sushi game, check out Tomo.