Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy Hour at Uchi - Wining and Dining in Houston

While my daughter was in town briefly between her study abroad and school starting, we took the opportunity to wine and dine our way around Houston. She is always a favorite dining companion of mine because she will taste anything and loves to split items, we can always create our own multi-course menu.

Uchi was one of her not-to-miss spots while she was here. Happy hour runs from 5-6:30 daily and there is always a crowd. We arrived at 5:00 pm on Wednesday to find the line already forming but we were able to walk right in and get a table as soon as the doors opened. The restaurant quickly filled up.


This time of day at Uchi provides a great opportunity to try smaller portions of some of the regular menu items. The entire menu is also available as well as a menu of daily specials. We ordered some sparkling Loire Valley rosé, the Bouvet Brut NV off the regular wine list. They serve it for $11 a glass or $43 a bottle. Happy hour or "Sake Social" drink selections include sake for $3, a sake cocktail for $6 and a red and white wine by the glass for $7.

We started with the spicy crunchy tuna roll with big-eye tuna, avocado, jalapeno and cucumber and the shag tempura roll with salmon, sun-dried tomatoes and avocado, both for $6. We followed that course with one Thai oyster with galangai, lemongrass and tomato each for $4 a piece. 

Next up, we opted for the Uchiviche with salmon, striped bass, bell pepper, tomato, garlic and cilantro for $6. There is always more fish than you expect in this little tasting. I think I have had this menu item every time that I have been to Uchi. We also enjoyed the Machi Cure which is not pictured; it is smoked baby yellowtail with yucca crisps, marcona almonds, Asian pear and yuzu for $6. I love this combination of flavors, we attacked it and I did not take a picture. 

For our final savory dish, my daughter picked the yaki niku with wagyu beef, ginger, fish sauce, local greens and ogo nori for
$8. This is a filling little plate and a good way to convince non-raw eaters to come check out Uchi with you.

We did not stop thereSince they do provide a small dessert taste on the Sake Social menu, we ended our meal with it- the okashi, made with pluot, chocolate and beet for $4, this is a very interesting dessert combination and the perfect size.

While it is always a treat to go to Uchi, I think that happy hour is my favorite time to be there. The crowd is lively and the menu variety allows for individual portions or table sharing sizes for groups. You can count on everything on the menu being available as nothing has been 86'd this early. The food is always so fresh and good; if you haven't tried Ushi yet, it may be time.