|4300 N. Quinlan Park Rd. Ste. #105
Austin, TX 78732
I first encountered the considerable talents of David Cho over 10 years ago at a little spot on Research called Midori Sushi. Cho has since opened Cho Sushi locations in Steiner Ranch and in Lakeway at 620 and Lohman’s Spur where we are today. This is the only show in town out this way for sushi, so it’s a good thing Cho is on his game.
Cho Sushi is about much more than sushi though. Let’s begin with appetizers. The Garlic Edamame will forever eradicate your taste for conventional Edamame. The flavors are that memorable! The Black Cod with Miso commonly known as Butterfish is a delight. Marinated in Miso for 72 hours and then broiled, each bite of this fish is a sensory and textural pleasure. The Blackened Tuna Tataki is another treat. This is Ahi tuna along with some very creative spices at its most engaging. As a rule, I prefer to leave the potstickers to the Chinese but the Beef and Vegetable Gyoza dumplings at Cho are worth my digression. Six perfectly pan fried dumplings arrive and trust me, they rapidly disappear.
The entrees are lighter than one sees at most Japanese restaurants. But that’s fine with me. Because the flavors shine through without encumbrance. The Japanese Ramen bears no resemblance to the stuff you ate when you were in college and broke. These ramen noodles with pork and vegetables in a miso broth are a slurpy joy! And the Fish and Chips Cho Style are more than worthy of your immediate attention. This is red snapper in a tempura batter with a zesty togarashi or Japanese chili pepper. Vastly different from the Fish n Chips in British pubs with killer flavors. And the Tempura Udon noodle soup is just about as good as you’ll find in the genre. The shrimp add the perfect touch. And the wonderful udon noodles are appropriately al dente. Want some heavier fare? Try the Japanese Ribeye in an Asian bbq marinade. Accompanied by wok fried greens and garlic fries, this steak has boatloads of unexpected flavors and is beautifully marbled. Tender as well!
OK. We’ve dispensed with the starter fare. Now let’s get down to the real reason we’re here. The sushi and sashimi. I tend to like sashimi (sans sticky rice) a bit more particularly when it’s an otoro or the prized fatty Bluefin tuna from the belly. The otoro and the chutoro at Cho are the rarest treats and are priced appropriately but the flavors and the colors are spectacular. I also like the ruby red Maguro (tuna) in the nigiri style. That is sticky rice with the delicate slice of fish on top. I’m also very partial to the Yellowtail Hamachi in the nigiri style. The contrast of the sweet fish and the density of the rice with some soy and wasabi is irresistible. Ditto for the Escolar and the Fatty Salmon. The flavors are quite special and the texture showcases the skill of the sushi chef. I also really like the Hirame (flounder). More density here and a good choice for a sashimi preparation. One constant at Cho is the obvious freshness of the fish. That of course is essential and I’ve never even once had an “off” piece here.
Americans pretty much invented the Sushi Roll as those who were too squeamish for raw fish had to be introduced more gently to the art form. Hence, the California Roll with cooked crab, cucumber, avocado and sesame seeds. Another good choice for those just starting out would be the Philadelphia Roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese and avocado. Cho’s rolls are on the smallish side but they’re invariably good. The more complicated rolls get my vote: like the Spicy Dirk which features spicy crab and jalapenos topped with albacore and salmon and honey bourbon and tobiko. Man we are talking flavor. And the Lakeway Roll is another pleaser. This roll screams out GREAT FISH with scallops, crab, and avocado wrapped in a delicate layer of fresh salmon and topped off with a habanero masago. Are you kidding me???
So head out to Cho Sushi in Lakeway this weekend. A plethora of creative and well prepared and plated dishes awaits.