FLASHBACK: A dozen more places for sushi
A quick roll or a spot to linger, Austin offers it all.
Sushi and something more from restaurants I've reviewed or visited. (The ratings in parentheses are awarded after full reviews. Limited visits and single-dish reviews don't carry ratings.)
Finn & Porter. This main room at this surf-and-turf cathedral, its upward sweep broken by light s as big as the spaceship in 'District 9,' might make you feel small. But at the intimate sushi bar, the Goii Roll will make you feel smart. Wrapped in white rice paper, it starts with crunch and pop: carrot, frisée, cilantro, cucumber and flying-fish roe with wasabi. Meaty hamachi and shrimp give it substance. Tangy ponzu and chive aïoli give it spice. 500 E. Fourth St., in the Hilton Austin hotel. 493-4900, www.finnandporter.com/austin.
How Do You Roll? Like Subway for sushi. Pick the base of your roll (seaweed or soy paper with rice), choose your meat (grilled beef or chicken, shrimp tempura, eel, raw fish and so on), then add vegetables, sauces and toppings. 10515 N. MoPac Blvd. (Loop 1), Suite A165. 243-8298. Also at 454 W. Second St. 320-8400, www.maki.us.com. (Reviewed April 2009: 5.9 out of 10)
Izumi Japanese Sushi & Grill. Some of the most elegantly cut fish in the city, the flavors as clean and fresh as the presentation, especially in translucent Japanese snapper and silky albacore. The Westlake Hill Roll is a tall sail of cucumber , drawing flavor from crab, tuna, salmon and yellowtail. 701 S. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360), Suite 550. 328-3333, www.sushiizumi.com. (Reviewed December 2009: 7.8 out of 10)
Kyoto. The lunch menu reads like a picture book: 10 pieces of nigiri sushi for around $10, sushi combos, double-roll specials. But I marveled at every corner of a sushi-sashimi bento box with snapper, yellowtail, tuna and salmon nigiri, all of it firm and fresh, plus six pieces of sashimi with shredded daikon. Crisp tempura bites included sweet potato, zucchini, broccoli and shrimp. With rice and miso soup, this is a reason to drive downtown. 315 Congress Ave., No. 200. 482-9010, www.kyotodowntown.com.
Mizu Prime Steak and Sushi. A lavish place for upscale rolls like the McLovin': crab, avocado, peppered tuna, serranos and balsamic vinegar. An impressive wine list, a full grill menu and sweeping views of the hills around Lake Travis. 3001 S. RM 620, Lakeway. 263-2801, www.mizuaustin.com.
Nagoya Steak & Sushi. Clean and friendly, with comfortable booths, big Japanese teppanyaki grills and a few too many TVs. Some of the nigiri sushi was fine, but poor technique and bad flavors sabotaged the rolls and tempura. 11630 RM 620 N., Cedar Park. 258-9888, www.eatnagoya.com. (Reviewed December 2009: 4.5 out of 10)
Piranha Killer Sushi. A franchise with specialty rolls such as a Love at First Sight (charbroiled fish over a California roll) and Marry Me (shrimp tempura, ginger cream, avocado, tuna and strawberry). Best appreciated on a two-sake buzz. 207 San Jacinto Blvd., No. 200. 473-8775, www.piranhakillersushi.com.
Silhouette Restaurant and Bar. The button-down sushi - nigiri with briny salmon eggs, silky-fleshed salmon and tuna, smoky eel and sweet octopus - plays wingman to the bar's aloha-shirted drinks . 718 Congress Ave. 478-8899.
Sushi A-Go-Go. Raw fish from a trailer? Trust Kayo and Také Asazu to turn out respectable rolls (the Fat Samurai) and colorful surprises (seaweed salad, sushi balls). 4001 Medical Parkway. 560-1655. Also at 801 Barton Springs Road. 423-7170, www.sushi-a-go-go-austin.com.
Sushi Zushi. This San Antonio and Dallas export is well-designed, from the blond wood to the cushy curving banquettes and zen-tasteful booths. The menu is what the Facebook page would look like if a sushi bar married a Japanese cafeteria. 1611 W. Fifth St. 474-7000. Also at 3221 Feathergrass Court at the Domain. 834-8100, www.sushizushi.com.
Tomo Sushi. A tight space with a mixed crowd, from 'you-might-be-a-yuppie-if' couples to tattooed Goths. Single-entendre, PG-13 rolls abound: Sex on the Beach, Double D, Say My Name . But the Who's Your Daddy Roll rocked, with spicy tuna and asparagus, wrapped generously with salmon and spicy sauce. 4101 W. Parmer Lane, Suite E. 821-9472, www.tomosushiaustin.com. (Reviewed December 2009: 6.2 out of 10)