Otoko — Austin (5/2016)


Otoko is the recently-opened latest restaurant from Paul Qui.  The prior tasting menu counter at his original restaurant no longer offers service, so this is the only tasting menu that is offered now.  The restaurant is located in the South Congress Hotel up some stairs from a courtyard (it’s a little hard to find).  Reservations are prepaid through Tock.com, where you have the option of pre-purchasing a wine or non-alcoholic beverage pairing (you can also decide at the restaurant).  I opted beforehand for the non-alcoholic pairings.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, which up some stairs in the courtyard of the South Congress Hotel, you are brought to the Waterside Bar, which open exclusively to the diners at the time before dinner.  Drinks at the bar are not included in the price paid. I was escorted to my spot at the dining counter about 15 minutes after my scheduled reservation time.

The menu is set in typical kaiseki style with no a la carte options. Seating times are on a staggered basis, with their goal of turning a seat over just once during the evening.

The experience started with jellyfish, served with pickled plum (umeboshi) sauce, cucumber, and fried baby shiitake mushrooms.  It was an interesting combination of textures and flavors to start, with the crunchiness of the mushrooms and the soft-resistance crunch of the jellyfish, along with tartness.

First beverage pairing was a guava and ginger drink.

For the full write-up, click here.


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