Conveyor-belt sushi restaurant coming to North Austin

Those who’ve traveled to places like London and Tokyo have seen the phenomenon before: conveyor-belt sushi. It’s like the culinary version of the trolley that visits Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Austinites will soon have a local option for the whimsical delivery device, as Kula Revolving Sushi Bar will be one of the new tenants at the revitalized Highland Village shopping center at 6929 Airport Blvd. near North Lamar Boulevard, according to Statesman business writer Gary Dinges. The restaurant will be joined by 99 Ranch Market, a full-service Asian grocery store. For more details on the development, check out Dinges’ story on MyStatesman.com.

 

 

Now open: Venezia Italian Gelato on South Lamar

 

Venezia Italian Gelato on South Lamar Boulevard. (Credit: Matthew Odam)
Venezia Italian Gelato on South Lamar Boulevard. (Credit: Matthew Odam)

South Austin has welcomed a new gelato store just in time for summer. Venezia Italian Gelato opened recently at 1701 S. Lamar Blvd. (just north of Austin’s Pizza). The gelateria serves a rotating selection of more than a dozen gelatos, with a few vegan options, as well as other gelato products, like chocolate-covered gelato bars, and coffee drinks. Venezia is open noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday

 

Looking ahead: Deckhand Oyster Bar coming to South Lamar

Photo via Facebook.com/DeckhandOysterBar
Photo via Facebook.com/DeckhandOysterBar

The Asian-influenced Deckhand Oyster Bar will open its second Austin-area location in the coming weeks. The restaurant owned by the Saybounkham family will fill the space of the former Outback Steakhouse at 4211 S. Lamar Blvd. in the Lakehills Plaza near Ben White Boulevard. The expansive menu includes an array of global flavors, from Thai (tom yum seafood soup), to Texas (crab-stuffed jalapenos), Japan (roe-topped oysters) and Louisiana (boudin). The restaurant is slated to open in the next three to four weeks.

Now open: Taco Joint on East Riverside

Image from Facebook.com/TheTacoJoint
Image from Facebook.com/TheTacoJoint

This is news that may make my co-workers happier than your co-workers: Taco Joint, located in the long-vacant Sonic at 134 E. Riverside Drive, opened for business last week. It is the second location of the Austin-born restaurant, which has a location at 2807 San Jacinto Blvd. The new restaurant, steps from the Statesman building, is opened 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Events: Apis welcomes chefs from Barley Swine, Lenoir, Otoko and more

Spicewood restaurant and apiary Apis welcomes a Murderer’s Row of Austin restaurants for its first Guest Chef Series of the year. Chefs from five of the best restaurants in Austin will collaborate on a a seven-course dinner with pairings of Spicewood Vineyards wine by Apis’ Jose Sapien. The dinner takes place at the restaurant on May 22.

The dinner is limited to 55 guests, with tickets costing $75 ($135 with pairings).

In addition to the seven-course dinner, 20 guests can pay $50 to suit up will suit up and tour Apis’ hives and participate in a honey extraction.

The roster of talent is as follows:
1st course by Otoko (Yoshi Okai)
2nd course by Barley Swine (Bradley Nicholson)
3rd course by Uchiko (Sterling Ridings)
4th course by Apis
5th course by Counter 3. FIVE. VII (Damien Brockway)
6th course by Lenoir (Todd Duplechan and Thomas Calhoun)
7th course by Apis

Reservations can be made by calling 512-436-8918 or by visiting the restaurant’s website.

“We’re always excited to connect and cook with our well-respected peers,” Apis chef de cuisine Adam Brick said. “As chefs, we owe it to ourselves and our guests to continuously strive to grow professionally and learn from other industry leaders. Collaboration is the focus of our 2016 Guest Chef Series and we’re thrilled to have such a talented lineup under one roof at Apis.”

Austin Restaurants: Get cozy at these places

Backspace is the pizza-parlor sibling (and next-door neighbor) to chef Shawn Cirkiel's East Sixth Street bistro called Parkside.
Backspace is the pizza-parlor sibling (and next-door neighbor) to chef Shawn Cirkiel’s East Sixth Street bistro called Parkside.

Restaurant listings

When rain threatens, consider one of these cozy restaurants. More restaurants broken down by category here.

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719-3377, andiamoitaliano.com. Authentic Italian in North Austin with a family-owned vibe.

Austin Land & Cattle. 1205 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-1813, alcsteaks.com. No pretense, just good steaks, a fun mood and a bar that serves strong drinks and excellent happy hour specials, such as a filling steak sandwich.

The Backspace. 507 San Jacinto Blvd. 512-474-9899, thebackspace-austin.com. Neapolitan pies from Parkside chef’s small restaurant that also delivers charcuterie and a nice roster of antipasti.

Barlata Tapas Bar. 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-473-2211, barlataaustin.com. About 10 variations of paella, two dozen hot small plates and a convivial atmosphere at this Spanish tapas restaurant owned by chef Daniel Olivella.

Bartlett’s. 2408 W. Anderson Lane. 512-451-7333, bartlettsaustin.com. This warmly lit restaurant has changed little since its transition from Houston’s, and that’s a good thing. You can still expect dishes like the popular French dip, am applewood-smoked pork chop and others.

Botticelli’s South Congress. 1321 S. Congress Ave. 512-916-1315, botticellissouthcongress.com. Intimate Italian dining on bustling South Congress. Try the homemade ravioli with butternut squash in a brown butter and sage sauce.

Buenos Aires Café. 1201 E. Sixth St., 13500 Galleria Circle in Bee Cave. 512-382-1189, buenosairescafe.com. A taste of South America in East Austin and out west at this charming café that started on South First Street years ago. The selection of empanadas (spinach, beef, chicken and tuna) are not to be missed. Neither is the steak sandwich with a vibrant chimichurri.

Chez Nous. 510 Neches St. 512-473-2413, cheznousaustin.com. A little bit of French class amidst the boozy grumble and stumble of Sixth Street. Try the duck confit or housemade charcuterie.

Easy Tiger. 709 E. Sixth St. 512-614-4972, easytigeraustin.com. A brick-lined subterranean hideout on the fringe of Sixth Street’s shot bars.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen. 7720 Texas 71. 512-852-8558; 2500 Hoppe Trail, Round Rock, 512-215-0372, jackallenskitchen.com. Farm-to-table comfort food such as bacon-wrapped quail and crispy salmon, as well as a massive weekend brunch, have made this place a hit down south and now up north, as well.

Jeffrey’s. 1204 W. Lynn St. 512-477-5584, jeffreysofaustin.com. A posh escape from the city and one of the coziest bar areas in town.

Lenoir. 1807 S. First St. 512-215-9778, lenoirrestaurant.com. Chef Todd Duplechan’s romantic bungalow restaurant takes local ingredients to replicate flavors of hot climates (Africa, Spain, Southeast Asia) from around the world.

Michi Ramen. 6519 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-386-1908; 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-394-6350, michiramen.com. Enjoy a variety of ramens, including one for vegans, along with dishes like Chashu Don (burnt ends over steamed rice and topped with bonito flakes).

El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, elnaranjo-restaurant.com. Tucked into the Rainey Street chaos is this exceptional example of interior Mexican food from chef Iliana de la Vega.

Olamaie. 1610 San Antonio St. 512-474-2796, olamaieaustin.com. This refined Southern restaurant feels like retreating into the comfort of a (wealthy) friend’s private manse.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya. 8557 Research Blvd. 512-339-0855; 1234 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-893-5561, ramen-tatsuya.com. Restorative soup will keep you cozy at these two locations that serve the best ramen in town.

Wink. 1014 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-482-8868, winkrestaurant.com. The hospitable farm-to-table trailblazers have created a restaurant that manages to feel like both a fine dining and neighborhood restaurant?

Taco Tuesday: Lengua and fajita and egg in North Austin

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This taqueria has its own sign on the façade of the building it shares with a gas station, market, convenience store and cell phone vendor but not its own entrance.

Enter through the convenience store and make your way to the back for some excellent, coarse corn tortillas and a red-and-yellow menu dotted with tacos that pack flavor and value.

The various meats can be ordered in taco, quesadilla, burrito and gordita forms. The half-dozen tacos all run $2.15 and the lengua was a perfect version of the form, supple and smooth with the brace of iron and a shower of cilantro and onions putting a piquant floral coat over the meat.

Order the salty, seared fajita beef topped with egg. They don’t scramble the egg; they fry it on the flat to a puffed over-medium and chop it in strips, the gold mineraly yolks cooked just to the point where they don’t ooze. Top them with a fierce creamy jalapeno or ruddy chile de arbol.

Get these tacos, along with some very friendly service, at the Tierra Linda Taqueria in the La Familia Market in North Austin. Grab a Mexican soda and some Taki’s (or fresh fruit) from the market on the way out.

Tierra Linda Taqeuria

8540 Research Blvd. 512-419-9190

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.