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One of Austin’s best sushi restaurants and one of the city’s most intimate dining experiences is no more. Chef Otto Phan announced on Instagram Sunday that he has permanently closed Kyoten Sushiko, the tiny omakase-focused restaurant that he opened in 2016 following two years running his original sushi trailer on East Sixth Street. The restaurant earned spots in the Top 50 of the Austin360 Dining Guide under Phan’s stewardship.
Phan moved to Chicago in 2018 and turned the reins over to chef Sarah Cook, a veteran of Sway and Lenoir, whom he had mentored to take his place at the small space in the Mueller development.
Heard, who took over in 2019, had reopened Kyoten for lunch and omakase carryout during the pandemic, but Phan wrote in his note that the restaurant’s future was untenable.
“Any failures here were simply because of me and my failed leadership, and no other reason,” Phan wrote. “This difficult new environment is not an excuse for failure for a special place like this that has been supported and patroned by so many amazing guests. The end of the lease was close, and it was best to accept that I couldn’t keep things going now, rather than later. Chef Sarah Cook has been wonderful for this place and has done admirably well in taking over my Austin responsibilities since I left. I love her. I am so happy with her time here and so happy that she will continue to do amazing things in the future. I’ve never met anyone that operated on so much love in my life.”
Phan says that his restaurant in Chicago, which was recognized last year by multiple publications has one of the best new restaurants in the city, will continue to operate and is not facing threat of closure.