Restaurant review: Ebisu Japanese restaurant in North Austin offers modern and fresh sushi – Food

13376 highway 183 N. # 400, 512 / 243-5554, www.ebisuaustin.com

Mon-Thu, 11 am-2.30pm & 4.30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-2.30pm & 4.30pm-11pm; Sun, 11 am-9pm

Nigiri (Photos by John Anderson)

Few things in this industry give me more pleasure than just writing about fantastic dining experiences that are happening, without controversy, off the beaten path of public relations reps, expensive downtown real estate and tours. of festivals. This is the case with a new Japanese restaurant named after the Japanese god of fishermen and luck – one of the seven gods of fortune – as well as an important district of Shibuya, Tokyo (known for Yebisu Garden Place): Ebisu claims the “freshest sushi in North Austin, Texas.” And it seems so.

Sake Mac and Cheese

Sake Mac and Cheese

Located in the Galleria Oaks Shopping Plaza off Anderson Mills and Highway 183, in the building that once housed Hoover’s and Thai Passion, this restaurant combines the simplicity of well-crafted sushi with gorgeous presentation while tackling with success to a large menu of other items. They offer great service and the atmosphere is clean, dimly lit and welcoming with a familiarity of déjà vu (what has been the first iteration of this building?). It’s no surprise that the three-person team behind Ebisu brings decades of experience to the table. Executive chefs Jay Chung and Joo Chung run Yanagi, a five-store Japanese restaurant chain in California, and moved to Texas late last summer.

Old fashioned ebisu

Old fashioned ebisu

My first visit was a girlfriend’s birthday dinner, a party of six, with varying levels of sushi knowledge, on a busy Saturday night. It should be noted that with three tours under my belt I have not yet made or need to make a reservation, although they do take them. It’s refreshing to just jump into a nice place to eat, no planning needed in advance.

North Austin's Ebisu Japanese Restaurant offers fresh, modern sushi

We started with a delicious miso soup and spicy edamame, allowing time to digest the varied menu, which is divided into 11 sections: starters (hot and cold), donburi (rice bowls), salads, hot dishes, combinations, sushi / sashimi, specialty rolls, noodles, desserts and drinks. Their delicious Old-Fashioned is made with Bulleit bourbon, Amaro Meletti, Angostura bitters and is served with two skewers of spicy pork belly and Luxardo cherries. We chose to order a metric ton of rolls, family style, and we were really happy with every offer, as well as the service.

North Austin's Ebisu Japanese Restaurant offers fresh, modern sushi

These aren’t your average, six-slice, 1-inch-diameter American buns, turned with rice on the outside of the nori and stuffed mostly with cream cheese and “spicy tuna”, although they do offer small ones. breads with these ingredients. Chung’s intense level of expertise and dedication to artistic veneer exceeds expectations, and most of his rolls measure nearly two inches and eight pieces, which prompts oh and uh across the table with each delivery. I would need a lot more room to itemize each of the rolls, but the menu has both descriptions and vivid photos. Ebisu, 911, Spider, Hot Nights, Firecracker, Tarantula, and Sexy (no rice) rolls were among our collective favorites, but the lobster roll – an incredibly decadent, served hot, baked “baby” lobster platter with crabmeat and masago wrapped in soy paper and topped with unagi (eel) sauce and mayonnaise – is memorable to say the least. Actually, I don’t know what would happen if a person devoured this almost too rich creation on their own, but it’s probably somewhere in the vicinity of a DMT trip – you know, the “spirit molecule” associated with ethereal visions during near death experiences.

We lived, and the owner, who worked upstairs to house, serve, and greet with each visit, also brought a free crispy salmon skin salad for the group and returned with a homemade green tea tiramisu for birthday girl.

However, it’s not just modern sushi rolls here, and Ebisu might be one of the best lunch options in town, with affordable combinations and sushi options. One of my writers joined me at noon mid-week, and we took a whole different path. I had seen a mention on Instagram of their sake mac & cheese, served with tubular pasta, béchamel / sake reduction, hondashi and green onions with a threaded garnish of pickled beets. I was constantly thinking about that wonderful little side until I came back weeks later so my boyfriend could try it out. The blistered shishitos were executed perfectly and our beef bibimbap, one of the few Korean dishes, arrived piping hot, allowing the bottom rice to crisp up nicely. To be clear, most of the bold buns are too sassy for my liking, so this trip we opted for the Futomaki, with Japanese pickled veg, cucumber, avocado, fish powder and tamago wrapped up. traditionally (with nori on the outside / rice on the inside). Delicious, although it could have been too much large – difficult to eat whole, unsuitable for cutting. And again the service was friendly and knowledgeable.

The date night, my third visit, was unique in that the service was lackluster (perhaps because our waiter apparently had friends at the bar, where she also made drinks; her peers and the ubiquitous owner filled in the gaps), but the food was even nicer. Again, this macaroni and cheese sake: I love it, especially when it’s juxtaposed with a fresh and shiny nigiri and a very filling pork katsu – perhaps the biggest portion of katsu I’ve had. ever seen, and the juiciest, with a nice golden fries. My guy said he would happily come back for this dish on his own. Our hamachi crudo was delicate, the fresh jalapeños a welcome kick in the palate. In addition to a solid cocktail menu, Ebisu offers a fine selection of hot and cold sakes, soju and Japanese whiskeys. I also opted for the Signature Sushi, a 10 piece selection of incredibly fresh, generously portioned and gorgeous fish – ours included bonus pieces of monkfish liver and uni in nori. My hamachi toro (yellowfin tuna belly), a favorite litmus test, was as buttery and delicious as any I’ve had.

I’ll definitely be back for happy hour soon, as they have Monday specials and a daily reverse happy hour, and I’m excited to try the seafood yaki udon, sashimi sampler, and roll of Mountain. And while I’m not sure this review conveys much more than an unconditional appreciation for the menu, that’s the problem: Ebisu lives and breathes in the balance between high / accessible catering and simple / beautiful creations. Their main focus is excellent cuisine, not to reinvent the wheel, and their passion is evident throughout the menu. More restaurants would be well served to follow suit.


Ebisu

www.ebisuaustin.com
13376 highway 183 N. # 400
Mon-Thu, 11 am-2.30pm & 4.30pm-10pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-2.30pm & 4.30pm-11pm; Sun, 11 am-9pm
512 / 243-5554

Dino S. Williams