Becoming a member of a rising variety of intimate sushi experiences which have sprung to life in Austin during the last a number of years, tiny omakase restaurant Toshokan (toshokanatx.com) will open its doorways for service March 2.
Properly, the doorways won’t truly swing open. You’ll have to seek out them first. The six-seat sushi counter is discreetly hidden in one of many former rooms at East Austin’s Native (807 E. Fourth St.), a hiply styled former hostel that for the reason that pandemic started has served as a bar, café and residential to a number of small native companies (Black Fret, Eastend Tattoos) which have arrange store within the former bedrooms.
C.Okay. Chin, a co-founder of downtown eating places Swift’s Attic and Wu Chow who has since left his operational function with these companies to work as a companion at Native, created the idea with government chef and companion Saine Wong, whom Chin met throughout Wong’s brief stint at Los Angeles import Sushi|Bar in East Austin.
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Toshokan (the identify means “library” in Japanese, and likewise hints on the furtive level of entry for the speakeasy-style restaurant) will supply a 14-course menu for $125 that may embody sushi bites with international flavors served in a Japanese model. The restaurant may also supply a full bar, with cocktails, wine, beer and sake.
Reservations for March will go stay at midnight on March 1, with April reservations quickly to comply with. Subsequent reservations open at midnight on the primary day of every month for the next month. Toshokan might be open Wednesday-Saturday for seatings at 6 and eight:30 p.m.
Wong’s menu takes its inspiration from 18 months he spent touring the world to take in different cultures and culinary traditions, visiting 26 nations on his trek. Dishes like Hokkaido scallop (served with Peruvian salsa verde) and braised Korean brief rib (served on potato pave, a dish that blends two culinary traditions) symbolize a number of the non-traditional takes on sushi that diners can anticipate from Wong.
Toshokan’s sourcing will embody an onsite farm set up from City American Farmer, and as a result of small variety of servings, Wong says the menu’s dishes and elements, from produce to protein, will change recurrently.
Chin, who’s made his identify as one among Austin’s most gregarious and visual suppliers of restaurant hospitality during the last 20 years, labored as normal supervisor of Kenichi from 2004 to 2007 and says he’s excited to carry a personalised stage of service and a spotlight to element you can’t discover at eating places that service a whole bunch of company an evening.
Chin makes use of an leisure metaphor to explain varied types of eating places and the roles they play. Some eating places are like TV, day by day drivers with a not-too-high barrier of entry, whereas others are like motion pictures, locations you could go to as soon as a month. Toshokan, and others of its ilk, are akin to Broadway performs, an indulgence some would possibly spring for less than a few times a yr.
“That is one thing you propose for. So, we’re going to go to the nth diploma to make individuals really feel particular once they’re in right here,” Chin says.
Toshokan will open within the wake of a number of small-scale sushi eating places which have arrange store lately. Otoko, which brings a extra conventional kaiseki method to its menu and repair than a number of the different choices, began the motion. Austin has since seen the opening of omakase counter Uroko at Springdale Normal; the edo-inspired Tsuke Edomae at Mueller; the aforementioned Sushi|Bar at the back of Bento Picnic; and a number of other at-home omakase experiences, together with these from Osome, Tare and chef Teddy Simon. Chef Phillip Frankland Lee, who offered his curiosity in Sushi|Bar on the finish of 2021, additionally plans to introduce two new omakase eating places within the space this yr.
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Chin says he’s excited for the inflow of those micro-dining experiences and thinks that Austin not solely has room for all of them, however that with every new opening, the concept might be bolstered.
“I need 75 extra of those locations to open up. Individuals who eat this manner beget extra individuals who eat this manner,” says Chin. He he hopes the eating and chef communities will rally round one another the best way he says they did when the scene in Austin was beginning to spherical into kind about 15 years in the past.
“All of us supported one another so properly and so blindly as a result of all of us beloved one another,” Chin says. “That’s the a part of these massive cities that I hate, is this concept that persons are in competitors. We’re in service to our prospects; we’re in service to Austin.”