Category Archives: Sushi

The Sake Social Hour at Uchiba

When Uchi announced that it would be opening a more bar-focused concept earlier this year, I could barely contain my excitement. (Though, I know many of us Top Knot-lovers were a bit wary.) You can breathe easy, because the new concept is yoi (gooooood).

The name makes sense—the word Uchiba combines “Uchi,” which means house in Japanese, and “Ba,” bar. Since its opening on January 31, this concept brought to us by Chef Tyson Cole under the Hai Hospitality umbrella, is Uchi’s sleek and stylish little sister has been a hit for those seeking shareable bites, fabulous décor and incredible cocktails.

 

If you’re anything like me (and our friend Susie), you love a good happy hour, but really love when the good happy hour also has incredible food. That’s why I was so excited to go check out Uchiba’s Sake Social Hour, which is offered daily from 5-6:30pm and the entire menu is $10 or less! Yes, you read that right! It features delicious creations like their hot fried chicken buns, spicy crunchy tuna temaki and hama chili. Oh, and not to mention, half priced specialty cocktails.

All of the food I sampled was incredible, but you can’t miss the nigiri (which is only $2 during the social hour)! I also tried both types of temaki that is offered during the Social Sake Hour, and while it’s hard to choose a favorite, the spicy crunch tuna has a little bit of spice with which the avocado perfectly complimented. And do yourself a favor and order the hot fried chicken bun. It’s similar to Nashville hot chicken but with Asian-style flare. They definitely have a kick but nothing too overbearing.

And the cocktails … yassss. All of the specialty cocktails are half-priced during the social hour. I started out with the Too Much Heaven, which was very similar to an old fashioned but with a nice hint of lemongrass. My second choice was the Sanmittai, a refreshing blend of gin, lemongrass, black warrior shochu, cilantro, mint and basil. It’s like an herb garden in a cup—in the most delicious way possible. If specialty cocktails aren’t your thing, Uchiba also offers a variety of wine and beer for a steal.

Something to note: if after you’ve had a taste of the social hour and you need to really fulfill your Uchiba fix, you can order from the full menu at the same time! I’ve heard that the fried milk dessert is to die for.

You can either walk-in or make reservations based on availability for the Sake Social Hour. If you’re planning to check it out on a Friday or Saturday, I would definitely recommend calling at least a few days in advance since those are some of the most popular days.

Sake Social Hour: DAILY, 5-6:30pm
1/2 price all specialty cocktails
$4-5 select wine & beer
$2 nigiri (sake, avocado, or hamachi)
$2-3 yakitori (shishito yaki, pork belly, or ribeye)
$6 temaki (sake karei or spicy crunchy tuna)
$6-8 tastings (hama chili, foie gras mousse, yuca fries, or hot fried chicken buns)
$6 selected seasonal dessert


UCHIBA
uchiba.com
Instagram | Facebook Twitter
214-855-5454
2817 Maple Avenue, 2nd floor (Uptown)
complimentary valet

Cover image courtesy of Uchiba.
**Thanks to Uchiba for treating Lauren to happy hour.**

Blue Sushi & Sake Bar

Full disclosure: My husband and I have been fans of Blue Sushi in Fort Worth for several years, so when I found out they were (finally!) opening Dallas locations, I was thrilled, albeit a little reserved. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it would be as good as we love all the way across DFW.

Short answer: Yes. The newest location nestled on the corner of McKinney Avenue and Bowen on the bottom floor of the M-Line Tower, Blue Sushi Sake Grill is a welcome addition to this strip of McKinney. (We’ve discovered that we love the roomy location on 75 at Walnut Hill, too!)

The hostesses were welcoming, the bartenders efficient, and true to memory, the menu included well-executed staples such as tuna tatake as well as more inventive small bites like the lightly fried, creamy-spicy Dragon Shrimp appetizer.

 

The space is cozy without feeling cramped and the high-top tables in the bar area are large enough to accommodate a group waiting for their reservation. Although it was too chilly to sit outside when we visited, the daily happy hour specials and prime people-watching real estate are sure to pack the small patio come springtime.

While I’m typically more of a wine drinker, the specialty cocktails were light and fruity, if a little summer-y, and we especially liked the Samuri Saketini, a refreshing blend of cucumber lime vodka and unfiltered sake garnished with cucumber. If you’re a fan of sake but maybe don’t know where to start, the two sake flights are a fun way to try a several options.

We had as great an experience at the new Uptown location as we’d come to expect from it’s Fort Worth sibling, and have recommended this spot multiple times to friends looking for good sushi and a fun atmosphere. Be sure to check out their lunch, vegan, and gluten-free menus as well!


BLUE SUSHI SAKE GRILL
bluesushisakegrill.com
Instagram: @BlueSushiSakeGrill
Twitter: @WeServeFunSushi
various locations

pictures courtesy of Blue Sushi Sake

Tokyo Joe’s Review & GIVEAWAY

I don’t enjoy being poked (hello, flirting on Facebook in 2006), but Denver QSR Tokyo Joe’s changed my tune last night.  I was invited in last night to try some of their goodies at the restaurant (I had some of their items delivered when they opened) including their new Poke Bowls and quite enjoyed the experience.

I started my night with a Lucky Buddha beer while waiting for my friend.  (I’d liken it most to a Heineken.)  Tokyo Joe’s offers a couple imported beers and a few Shiner options (CHEER?!?!?!), along with some of the usual suspects.  It being a Tuesday, I opted for a single beer and my friend went for their tea bar, which they stock with two of their five tea options at all times.

LUCKY BUDDHA BEERIMGP5442

I sipped and ordered a few little bites–the Gyoza (steamed pork dumplings with Joe’s dipping sauce), Miso Soup, and white chicken Spring Rolls.  I was delighted to see three options of spring rolls–white chicken, tiger shrimp, and organic tofu.  The basil in them was refreshing and I nearly guzzled the peanut dipping sauce on its own.

We were encouraged to try the new (launching today, 2/3) Poke bowls (ok … they say that it’s actually pronounced pok-ay)–one tuna and one salmon.  The fish was fresh and incredibly tender and the avocado was perfectly ripe.  My favorite part?  They added chopped Macadamia nuts on my tuna bowl.  Hell to the yes.

Tokyo Joe’s offers much more than just the poke bowls–made-to-order sushi rolls, bento boxes (also launching 2/3), salads, additional bowls, and more.  And, if you’re like me, you feel empowered when you make decisions, but hate to do it at the same time.  Enter: TJ’s bowls.  Each bowl gives you limited (but generous) options with your choice of five proteins, three carbs, 11 sauces, and 13 vegetables.

Surprisingly, they also offer made-to-order sushi using fresh fish and REAL crab.  The CaliTartare Roll we enjoyed had a serious and unexpected kick to it and the lemongrass aioli was seriously delicious.

Don’t just take my word for this place … try it yourself!  In fact, they offered me a $50 gift card to give to one of you!  Check out the giveaway below to see how you can enter to win.  Good luck!


TOKYO JOE’S
tokyojoes.com
Facebook | Twitter
Richardson: 300 W Campbell Rd #140 | (214) 484-5211
McKinney: 7645 Custer Rd | (972) 332-8896

****I was treated to a meal at Tokyo Joe’s and they donated the $50 gift card for me to give to one of you!****

Instagram contests by Rewards Fuel

 

RA Sushi’s New Menu Items

The thing I love about RA Sushi is the imaginative and often unexpected twist they seem to gravitate toward when dreaming up their delectable menu items. Take my current favorite RA cocktail offering, for instance- the Emperor’s Cucumber Margarita ($9; Patron Silver, Combier Liqueur d’Orange, lime juice, Japanese yuzu, agave nectar, cucumber). The last place in the world you would expect to find a legit marg might be a sushi restaurant, but trust me, this interesting spin on a traditional ‘rita is uniquely delicious.

Channeling that same creativity and use of thoughtful and surprising ingredients, RA Sushi has dreamed up nine new menu items, which will be available for a limited time (through August). I had the 10 Drink Sampleropportunity to sample some of the new menu offerings, and they did not disappoint.

RA has added three new cocktails to the roster, and my favorite of the bunch had to be the Pear and Lemon Blossom ($8.50), a pear-infused lemonade, made with Absolute Pears, St. Germain, lemon sour, and a pear puree. The pear flavor in this fruity cocktail was not shy, and it mingled nicely with the tart lemon;  oh-so-sippable and refreshing for spring. Also new are the Hot Tropics Margarita ($8.50): Tanteo Tropical Tequila, Combier Liqueur d’Orange, shaken with mango purée, lime juice and agave nectar, served with a chili-salted rim; and the Peach Basil Sour ($8.50): Bacardi Peach Red, St. Germain, fresh basil and lemon sour.

RA also has some new limited time sake offerings, including TY KU Coconut Nigori Sake ($8/$16 *330ML Bottle): premium nigori sake infused with the refreshing taste of coconut and aromatic hints of vanilla; and,  the enticing Discovery Sake Flight ($9): which includes three 2 oz. pours: MIO Sparkling, Kizakura Pure and Saturi “Little Lily” Nigori.

Two new appetizers have been introduced, each featuring seabream. I found myself wondering “What’s a seabream?”, and soon learned it is in fact a mild white fish with a taste and texture  similar to sea bass.  We sampled Red Seabream Carpaccio ($11): finely sliced red seabream and lemon topped with a spicy yuzu dressing, organic micro greens, truffle salt and touch of lemon zest; this light dish was full of fresh, delicate flavor, and it was a favorite at our table. Also available is Red Seabream Nigiri ($4.50): red seabream over rice, topped with spicy yuzu dressing and truffle salt.

We sample two new entree offerings, and I particularly enjoyed the Tuna California Roll ($9), a classic California Roll topped with a mix of tuna, avocado, cucumber, bell pepper and cilantro, finished with togarashi, garlic chips and black pepper soy sauce. Garlic lovers, this roll is for you. The toasted garlic chips were bursting with flavor, and I loved the extra crunch they provided for added texture. We also tried the Langostino Strawberry Salad ($12): langostino, strawberries, cucumber and avocado over arugula, tossed in citrus vinaigrette, served with a tangy kiwi wasabi sauce and truffle salt. This salad was very light and fresh, making it a perfect warmer weather dish.

Whether you’re thinking about checking out these tempting new menu items, or if it’s high time you stopped in for some of your old favorites, a great time to visit RA Sushi would be between Monday, May 25, and Sunday, May 31. During “Nicky’s Week,” RA Sushi will donate 100% of sales from a variety of menu items to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, in order to benefit kids battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases. So, go and eat sushi for charity!

RA Sushi- Shops at Legacy
rasushi.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
7501 Lone Star Dr. Suite B-130, Plano, TX 75024
469.467.7400

Happy Hour
Monday – Saturday 3 PM- 7 PM & 10-11 PM
Sunday 8 PM- 11 PM

Select  beer, wine, & cocktails, $3.75-$8
Select sushi and appetizers, $3.49-$8.49

 

 

SusieDrinksDallas Visits Ivy Kitchen

Ivy Kitchen is a new restaurant that serves sushi, steaks, and one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.  We had the pleasure of speaking with Brit Milam who came to Ivy Kitchen from Cured in San Antonio and has left his mark on the restaurant.  He spoke about Ivy Kitchen’s local vs. global attitude, which means they refuse to sacrifice quality to call something local.

Their drinks are top notch (the Bootstrap Manhattan is not to be missed) and their wine list, curated by Raven Wine, is one of the most brilliantly simple lists I’ve seen in Dallas. They offer some of my favorite local liquor brands, including TX Whiskey and Cinco Vodka!  Their Sake Margarita is a sort of surf and turf of the cocktail world and The Ivy is their best seller.

Ivy Kitchen offers an abridged menu available in the  Look & Dine theater of LOOK Cinema, which shares one wall with them.  Don’t worry … they won’t serve anything in there that’s too pungent out of courtesy of the other moviegoers!

Alcohol offerings: Full bar, full wine list, local and import beers (some local drafts)
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday
TVs: in the bar
Kitchen hours: 11am-10pm
Bar hours: an hour after the restaurant (especially Thursday-Saturday)
Gluten-free options: yes
Not to miss:
  • Edemame is coated in the crazy good spice
  • Crab cake is possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten. The Cole slaw has macadamia nuts in it and is badass. Like … legit.
  • Their Burger patty is made with equal parts short rib, brisket, and beef … and it’s one of the best burgers that I’ve ever had.
Video courtesy of Rico, write-up by Susie.
IVY KITCHEN

nobu

So I’m going to shoot straight with you … I don’t make tons of money (though my shoe collection may convince some otherwise).  If I did, I would dine at Nobu as often as possible.  I haven’t ever had anything but a great experience there and the food and drinks are always spot on.  After my last visit, I can rest assured that the next time I crave a good sake martini and rock shrimp, I can indulge myself without too much guilt at Nobu.

Nobu recently instituted ”Nobu Night” on Wednesday nights and it’s quite a doozy.  $6 appetizers (decent portions), $7 specialty martinis, and $4 beers.  Yes, this is the classy side of 75, so you should expect to pay a bit more … and it’s Nobu.  At these prices, can you ignore your practical side for a night and not regret it the next morning.

When you walk in, the staff will greet you in a badly-timed unison of “ishayamasai” or “welcome” and the mood is sultry but energized.  The decor is quite interesting with fake trees lining the far side of the restaurant and large columns throughout the dining area.

Make sure you get there at on the early side of happy hour because once the dinner crowd arrives, the wait staff gets a bit manic and the span between your drinks causes you to sober up and reconsider ordering another.  But then again, Nobu isn’t the place for a quick drink, but the kind of place you go expecting a few hours of strong drinks and three rounds of appetizers and put your people watching hat on.

The clientele is a blast to watch.  You see the businessmen sitting alone at the bar after a long day of work in the Crescent Towers and the older couples coming in for a quick bite of heaven before going to bed.  You’ll also see the typical Dallas crowd filter in as it gets later … I usually slip out before they arrive!

Definitely spoil yourself and try their Nobu Night … your stomach will thank you, though your liver may not.



Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4

Nobu
www.noburestaurants.com
400 Crescent Court | Dallas, TX 75201-1838 (Inside the Crescent Hotel)
(214) 252-7000

Specials:
Monday, Tuesday & Friday | 5-7 p.m. | all beers $4.00, all Signature cocktails $7, select appetizers $6
Wednesday & Thursday | 5-10 p.m. | all beers $4.00, all Signature cocktails $7, select appetizers $6
Sunday | 50% all bottled wine $100 or less