Austin doesn’t just “do” food trucks; Austin does food trucks. A couple of chefs with Nobu, Ramen Tatsu-ya (I still haven’t been there!), and Uchi on their resumes have opened an upscale sushi food truck called Kyoten.
During the drunken stupor that out-of-towners refer to as SXSW, I passed by this place and convinced my harem of equally inebriated friends to try it with me. Having lived on free Kind bars, Tito’s vodka, and somehow cheese, I was ready for some real food. I wanted something nice, fresh, unpackaged, and containing vegetables (if you’ve been to SXSW you know what I mean). My hopes for Kyoten were so high that I was afraid they might not meet expectations. Spoiler alert: They did.
The food isn’t cheap, and I’d avoid the painfully salty miso soup, but everything else is diviiiiiine. It was clear to me upon asking a few questions about the menu that the staff was truly passionate about the product, and I love that they chimed in with which fish dish was going to be the best. I completely ignored their advice because I had salmon on the brain, but I still appreciated the knowledge.
I’m a known sushi enthusiast, but not everyone in the group was. The beef tongue braised in red wine (not shown) did the trick for them.
If you’re jonesing for an Uchi excursion, but don’t want the hassle, or maybe even want to dine in the soon-to-be-boiling-hot outdoors, then this is for you. They have a ton of Japanese lanterns, a fenced in zen garden, and more than enough picnic tables. Grab a bottle of wine, or sake, and prepare to be amazed.
My favorite part about this whole get-up is that I get to have drinks, wonderful, dirty bar drinks while I wait for my food (or gaggle of friends who are running severely late!).
Poor Qui’s Buns
We ordered the world-famous crispy beets which technically aren’t that crispy, but ultimately delicious beyond my expectations. In fact, I didn’t think much of mayo before trying them, but damn that Kewpie mayonnaise. It was something else. Something delicious. The brussels sprouts, equally famous, were every bit as magical as they claimed. I think it was the fresh herbs included that really did me over. A mouthful of fresh basil leaves is all it takes to push me over the edge of tasty orgasmic-ness. It did just that. Happy hour at HITW (Hole in the Wall) goes until about 8 or 9, and that includes things like Shiner for $2.50. I’m disappointed to report that Live Oak Hefeweizen is listed for $5 a pop (normally $3, or at most $4 at other places) but at least they have it, right?
Ramen with Vital Farms Egg
How does the ramen compare to the recent crop of ramen places in town? Simple. It’s less simple. They’re more innovative and risk-taking, abandoning tradition for something that might be tastier than the predecessors of yester-years. The richness of the broth, speaking of the squid ink ramen in particular, is nothing short of legendary. I love the fresh tomatoes, and fried tofu sinking into the tar-like liquid abyss. It’s one of my favorites! The $1 extra Vital Farms egg is a must.
The overall take on East Side King’s Hole in the Wall location is that you should go for a nice bowl of ramen, maybe some crispy beets with a tall, cold beer, or maybe just to try something new one night after work.
Sherpalux invited us out for an afternoon tour of the city, and though all attending were Austin natives, there were a few new and delicious discoveries for the group.
East 6th Trailer Park
Our first stop: food trucks! Three samples from different restaurants were offered. The samples weren’t huge, but they did the trick.
The Spartan from Spartan Pizza
The vegetarian options were a bit more limited, but Spartan Pizza came through with several tantalizing choices to appease me.
The Zeus from Spartan Pizza
My carnivorous partner lucked out with The Zeus. That slice contained olive oil, bacon, spinach, and fresh mozzarella.
The Balboa from Way South Philly
Way South Philly was next up at the trailer park. The owner spoke with great passion about what makes a truly authentic Philly cheese steak, and you may be surprised to learn that a main ingredient is Cheez Whiz.
The Adrian from Way South Philly
Canned “cheez” aside, they had a pretty decent vegan option. Grilled vegetables, good bread, and the option to add hot sauce (an option I strongly endorse). It was simple, healthy, and good.
Cookies from Cool Haus
We finished off the food portion of our tour with tasty bites from Cool Haus. They brought out the cookies first, one being a vegan option, and added the ice cream later. This made sense to everyone except for my partner, who ate our cookies as soon as they were set down.
The ice cream sandwich concept was lost on him.
After a brief shopping trip on South Congress, with a quintessentially Austin stop at Continental Club, we hopped over to Clarksville for one last drink at Mean-Eyed Cat.
The tour was fun, and something I would definitely recommend to the Austin newcomer, or out-of-town guest.