Otoko Review: Austin Sushi Scene
One of my favorite things to do in Austin is act like I don't live here. That means that I like to spoil myself by eating at restaurants that are usually reserved for people on once in a lifetime vacations.
I recently went to Otoko, which is a Sushi restaurant located in the new South Congress Hotel. It is very pricey and you have to buy tickets well in advance. We bought our tickets a few months in advance and planned to go in June. Tickets are $150 a person. They do not include drinks, but they do include gratuity. We were only able to get a 5:30 reservation, but that actually ended up working out well.
We took a Fare (since Austin doesn't have Uber) and headed to South Congress. We arrived at around 5 and were escorted into the private bar lounge for the restaurant. This was one of my favorite parts of the experience. They have a really lovely and romantic lounge for waiting where a great mixologist makes drink. It was nice to start off such a special night with a great, great cocktail! They have a huge selection of Japanese whiskey if you are into that as well :)
The menu includes 22 courses, with 10 of those courses being nigiri.
The nigiri portion of the menu is absolutely insane and was so, so good. Chef Yoshi (Chef Paul Qui was not there the night we went...) explains every dish and cuts every piece and immediately dresses and hands it to you. It appears to me that they sit groups of four every 30 minutes so that the main chef is only cutting nigiri for four people at a time. This means that Yoshi is able to really chat with you and tell you all about the food. It was a really unique and fun experience.
Of course, my favorite dish was the madai.
22 courses later and a couple of glasses of wine later, we were toast!
A lot of people have asked me if the experience is worth the price and I definitely think it is! The food and experience were really unique and it very much feels like a special atmosphere. It's definitely not a place you would go every month or even every few months, but for a special occasion Otoko is a great place to go.