|3407 Greystone Dr.
Austin, TX 78731
The current sushi craze that has enveloped Austin brings to mind the inestimable talents of guys like Tyson Cole at Uchi or Tatsu Aikawa formerly at Imperia (now at Ramen Tatsu-Ya). But they have a significant connection to a wise and talented master chef named Smokey Fuse who has not only mentored many of the younger chefs in Austin but continues to produce an outstanding quality of sushi and sashimi at his classic restaurant, Musashino sushi dokoro.
Located at Mopac and Greystone downstairs from Chinatown, Musahino is on a level with the very best in Austin because of its wonderful creativity and very importantly, it’s reliable consistency. You can watch the chefs like Kazoo go about their work under the watchful eye of Smokey and their results are always magical.
The appetizers at Mushashino have a quality and level of flavor that elevates them to the pantheon of Japanese fare in our city. The Avocado Kama is an avocado stuffed with shrimp, crab and Smokey’s special sauce. This is pristine and delicious. The Tempura Spider is also a must try. This is a delicate tempura of shoft-shell crab that has off-the-chart taste and textural qualities. The Gyu Tataki features delicate slices of seared filet mignon adorned with roasted garlic and bathed in a spicy soy sauce vinaigrette. The last time I tried these they went down so easily that I was unaware the dish was empty. And the Bakudan Mussel is simply to die for. These are mussels on the half shell baked with a lovely spicy hybrid sauce. This is an amazing dish!
The entrees at Musahino are a study in creativity and reverence to the time-honored name and history of the cuisine of Tokyo. The Nabeiyaki Udon is one of my favorites. This is udon noodle soup with shrimp tempura in a clay pot and this is culinary bliss: elevated to the highest level of the art form. The Chicken Katsu Curry is another excellent choice. This is breaded and deep fried chicken with a spicy curry but this dish is far more complex in its flavor profile than one might imagine from the name. The Salmon Teriyaki is as tender as you could imagine and it s sauteed in a sweet and savory teriyaki sauce that complements the fish rather beautifully.
But it’s the Sushi and Sashimi at Musashino that take up the bulk of the menu and for good reason. They are simply exemplary. When the cadillac of all tuna, the mighty Blue Fin comes in to town, I’m the first one in line at Musashino. The Toro Hagashi (fatty tuna without vein) is simply as good as it gets. Under Smokey’s watchful eye, the flavor of this could be analagous to eating butter: it’s that amazing. Likewise for the Toro Aburi. I had never tried seared fatty tuna before and the tastes are riveting. This has to be experienced. And if the Chu Toro is available, or even better, the O Toro or the prized Kama Toro, do yourselves a huge flavor and try these incomparable slices of pure bliss. Pricey, to be sure, but worth every penny. And I am always drawn to the Hamachi Kama (the cheek of the yellow tail) when it’s available. This is a simple but intoxicating flavor redolent of the catches from the Atlantic seaboard inlets of my childhood. Another dish that takes me back to New England is the Hirame or flounder (flukes as we used to call them). The sushi version of this full-fleshed fish is incomparable. And why not try the Wagyu Toro while you’re at it. This is the Japanese equivalent of beef tartar and it is replete with the most amazing flavors along with the razor-thin texture.
The last part of the inordinately stellar offerings at Musashino are the rice rolls. My favorites coincide with that of the chef and are called Temaki (hand rolls). The Toro Taku which is fatty tuna with takuan (pickled relish) is the absolute bomb as is the Spicy Spider which is soft shell crab, avocado, and smelt egg with the house spicy sauce. The Negihama is another classic: simple and timeless with yellowtail and scallions. Instant flavor rush here.
Some simple rules for eating sushi at Musashino; it’s a finger food so use them. Try to eat the sushi in one bite to get the full flavor. Also, keep the wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and the soy sauce separate. It enhances every bite. The most important rule is to visit Musashino often. It is Austin’s little corner of Tokyo.