Foie gras sushi, Uchi, Austin, Texas

Two of many people’s favorite foods in one: foie gras perfectly seared, moist inside yet just carameled on the outside, then nested on a nigiri, that little pillow of rice that’s more typically topped with a slice of raw fish. This little package is wrapped in a strip of nori seaweed, and the whole assemblage is drizzled with a lush teriyaki sauce, and a few grains of crunchy quinoa are added for a surprising texture.

It’s so wrong and yet so right, and so very Texan.

Some of the other signature dishes at Uchi, Austin’s very modern sushi restaurant, includ the Zero Sen roll: yellowtail with avocado, crispy shallots and a stripe of yuzu kosho (yuzu – Japanese citron – and black pepper paste) for an unexpected kick. No wonder it’s named for the Zero fighters that the kamikaze used. And the Biendo roll is more Vietnamese than Japanese but really neither: tempura fried tiger shrimp (the chef kindly made mine with just standard boiled shrimp, since I don’t much like tempura), with butter lettuce, sliced cucumber, sliced shallots and wafers of frozen grapes, all with a spicy Vietnamese vinaigrette for dipping.

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