Nestled in the 2nd Street District on Colorado is the recently opened BarChi Sushi, the sister restaurant to one in the Woodlands, and cousin to Chi Chinese Buffet at the Southpark Meadows complex in far south Austin. BarChi "fuses sushi bar and lounge with classic Japanese elements." The owner, Susan Chan, also has a background in interior design, and has given the place a very modern feel -- big glass windows in the front, bar area with clean lines, lights that change color embedded in the floor of the main dining room, some more private booths, and of course, the lengthy sushi bar. BarChi recently hosted a tasting for local media, so here's a look at what we had.
Shrimp crunch, California, and Tuna rolls; all tasty, especially the shrimp.
Pork Gyoza, there was a bit of ginger in the filling, which I liked. The marinated cucumbers and lightly pickled cabbage were nice accompaniments.
Fried Spring Rolls, which, filled with cabbage and carrots, were mostly bland, though well-fried, and not greasy. (Also not a typical Japanese food.)
Sashimi -- Tuna, Salmon, and an Australian whitefish, similar to yellow tail, and Eel. And while I may be half Japanese, I have never completely embraced the raw fish thing. The tuna & salmon were fine, the whitefish seemed a little off to me, but others at my table completely loved it and thought it was the best item on the plate. I did like the grilled eel... maybe it's the sauce!
Spicy Duck Breast in what I think was a plum sauce -- really delicious, the whole thing!
Roasted Chicken Teriyaki, with sauteed enoki mushrooms, and crispy rice noodle fan. Very tasty and beautifully presented with the fanned noodles. Don't see this on the menu online or the pamphlet we received, though there is a lunchtime bento box with teriyaki.
They kept bringing things out! What I believe was called Phoenix Roll -- fried whitefish balls with sweet soy sauce; don't see this on the menu either.
This is one of the sashimi combo trays that I photographed while walking past the sushi bar -- looks great!
Patrons can choose the more traditional dining room or the bar area. BarChi also offers a traditional daily happy hour (3 - 7 pm) and a reverse one (10p - 2a) on Friday and Saturday, something that we're seeing more and more. It's my guess that they do quite well as a late night establishment, as you're in the middle of a growing entertainment district with the new Austin City Limits Theater just a block away. And, they've got lunch specials starting at $8, which include some non-Japanese items like burgers and Thai curry. Overall, their menu appears to be well priced, and BarChi will certainly fill the void for good Japanese food downtown, with the recent closure of the more traditional Kyoto. I almost forgot to mention their pineapple sake, which was amazing! Cold, smooth, and very easy to drink, it complimented our dishes very well.