Kyōten Sushiko offers sneak peek/taste via UberEats today

Credit: UberEats
Credit: UberEats

One of Austin’s best sushi purveyors, Kyōten, closed for business yesterday, as chef Otto Phan prepares to open Kyōten Sushiko at the Mueller development this spring. Phan, who career includes time at Bar Masa, Nobu and Uchi, will serve an omakase menu at his new restaurant, but he will also serve the boxed sushi (for dine-in and take-out) that made his East Austin trailer famous.

To preview one of his forthcoming lunch specials, Phan is serving his salmon oshizushi via UberEats today.

“It shows the unique level of harmony and balance that you can expect from the upcoming restaurant,” Phan said earlier this week via email. “It might look the same as what I’ve been doing in the trailer, but it’s not.  There will be a significant ‘jump’ between the food at the trailer and the food at the restaurant.”

Phan said the sushi will be an improved take on the ocean-trout-based masu-zushi at the trailer and believes the food will hold up via the delivery service.

“It’s nice to do it through UberEats to show that this jump doesn’t have to come at exorbitant prices or ideal restaurant settings.  You don’t need a Stradivarius to play pitch perfect music,” Phan said.

Stunt food: Hopdoddy and Round Rock Donuts combine for insane burger


The Code 7 comes sandwiched between two glazed Round Rock Donuts.
The Code 7 comes sandwiched between two glazed Round Rock Donuts.

Hopdoddy recently opened its first location in Round Rock (2600 Hoppe Trail) and to celebrate their new suburban location, the Austin-based hamburger restaurants has teamed with beloved Round Rock Donuts for a sweet and savory burger that would make Guy Fieri blush.

The Code 7 burger, named after the code use by police for a coffee-and-donut-run, features a beef patty with cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon and a fried egg sandwiched between two glazed Round Rock Donuts. Maybe they should have named the burger after the code EMS uses for a heart attack.

The burger, which costs $11, is only available in limited supply this Friday and Saturday.


UberEATS expands beyond downtown


Have you been sitting in your office or abode jealously eyeing the lazy folks downtown who can use UberEATS to have lunch delivered in 10 minutes, without tip or service charge?

You’re in luck. At least for a while. And depending on where you live or work.

For the rest of January, UberEATS has expanded to include parts of South and East Austin. Check out the delivery-area map here. You can also check out this week’s menus and get some FAQs answered.





Home Slice giving away free pizza for 10 years


You read that headline correctly. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Home Slice Pizza is giving one lucky customer free pizza for 10 years. The family-friendly restaurant will give away the prize as part of the raffle at its annual Carnival O’Pizza event on November 14 at the South Congress restaurant. Proceeds from the event benefit the Austin Bat Cave. The event, which includes pizza, games, face painitng and merrymaking, runs from noon to 7 p.m. It is free and open to all ages. Home Slice has raised more than $100,000 for participating charities in its 9 years of Carnivalling, including more than $60,000 for Austin Bat Cave.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at More Home Slice or Home Slice for $5 from now until the day of the Carnival, when they can be purchased for $10 at the Carnival. The grand prizes will be announced at 6 p.m. that day and the winner must be present to win any of the Grand Prizes. Only one person will win 10 years of pizza. The other grand prizes include dinner for 12 at Otoko (Paul Qui’s soon to open 12 seat restaurant, a Yeti Cooler and all sorts of Yeti items, and two general admission Austin City Limits passes.

“Ten years is a big deal and we wanted to raffle a prize as special as we feel about our history on South Congress and about getting to this milestone,” Home Slice co-owner Jen Strickland said. “We started with ambitions of being a little, well-loved neighborhood joint and every year has exceeded our expectations of what it’s like to serve this great city and our wonderful pizza-passionate customers. We’re so excited to be able to award this prize to someone and get to know them, and their family and friends… over the next decade! Spreading the love through great food and hospitality is what Home Slice is all about, and we hope this raffle prize embodies that spirit.”
Check out my list of the best pizza in Austin at



UberEATS delivering free Voodoo Doughnuts Friday morning


In what looks to be a brilliant marketing move for both companies, UberEATS will deliver free boxes of Voodoo Doughnuts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Friday. Once that two-hour window closes, UberEATS will deliver lunch requests, per usual business operations, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The wildly popular Portland-based doughnut shop officially opens at 211 E. Sixth St. on Halloween, so this promotion from the food-delivery app will give people a sneak peek. The promotion is set for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. but will only last as long as supplies last (limit one box per customer).

Wondering how UberEATS works? Uber users open the Uber app, select EATS, set delivery location, and place their order. Food shows up within minutes. Majorly important note: The UberEATS delivery area is extremely limited in Austin (Lady Bird Lake to 38th Street and Lamar Avenue to I-35). Check the map here.

The app has already expanded its offerings since first launching. As a sample taste, today it is delivering food from Noble Sandwich Co., Sagra, Manuel’s, and Gus’s Fried Chicken.

Dai Due introduces annual Rootshare program

Dai Due, Butcher Shop and Supper Club, owned by Chef Jesse Griffiths, opened at their new location at 2406 Manor Rd. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Dai Due, Butcher Shop and Supper Club, owned by Chef Jesse Griffiths, opened at their new location at 2406 Manor Rd.

Dai Due just celebrated its first year as a restaurant with a nod from Bon Appetit magazine as one of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the United States. With a year under its belt, the butcher shop-restaurant hybrid that got its start as a supper club in 2006 is introducing a Rootshare Program. For an annual membership of $2,000, members will received a $2,500 gift card redeemable at the Butcher Shop, dining room, special wine or beer dinner events, private dinners or for any of Dai Due’s New School of Traditional Cookery programs or private classes. Members will also get early notice of events and invitations to members-only events. Dai Due is only selling 25 of these annual memberships that run from September 9, 2015 to September 8, 2016. Contact Dai Due at 512-524-0688 for more information.

Read my review of Dai Due from below:

If you or I strolled through the alley behind the Vortex Theater on Manor Road we’d probably see a nondescript concrete path colored with unidentifiable vegetation. Dai Due chef-owner Jesse Griffiths saw inspiration.

He foraged wild grapes from the alley the day he signed the lease at his butcher shop and restaurant located across the street. Griffiths used the grapes and a recipe from a Chez Panisse cookbook to create a starter for his restaurant’s sourdough bread.

He loved that the yeasts would be local to his neighborhood. It’s fitting that Griffiths would take a lesson from locavore pioneer Alice Waters. Griffiths’ restaurant culls local and seasonal ingredients and, using a from-scratch ethos, creates sensational dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is exemplary Texas food, the restaurant quintessentially Austin.

Dai Due, its name a nod to the Italian proverb “From the two kingdoms of nature, choose food with care,” started in 2006 as a supper club run by Griffiths and his wife, Tamara Mayfield. Griffiths found the phrase in a cookbook he discovered in Italy, where his appreciation for local and seasonal cooking blossomed.

Dai Due served about 40 supper club dinners a year and expanded its operation to a popular farmers market stand in 2008. Regulars of the farmers market will recognize venison breakfast sausages and biscuits and gravy ($9) on the breakfast menu at the new restaurant. Dai Due calls it their “day menu,” and you can order both breakfast and lunch from it during the morning and afternoon.

The jewel of a recent breakfast was a small bruléed grapefruit that looked like a ruby, its glassy torched surface dusted with salt crystals ($3). You can get your biscuit fix with the Central Texas breakfast ($13). Ours was a bawk-quack affair: one chicken egg and one duck egg with viscous golden yolks, served alongside crispy spires of sweet potatoes and a tender slice of charred ham suffused with sweet peach smoke from its finish on the grill.

If you’re fighting allergies (or a hangover), the carnitas torta provides spicy sinus-opening amelioration. The seeded white bread slathered with refried beans, barbacoa and pickled onions is meant to be a Mexican-style ahogada, meaning drowned. But at the suggestion of our server, we took the fiery chipotle beef stock salsa in a side bowl for dipping, allowing us to regulate the intensity of the burn. The friendly server’s advice was representative of the fact that the staff knows and appreciates the complexities of Dai Due’s fluid menu.

Other nods to Mexico included queso flameado ($12) that twisted and wrapped chorizo verde, piquant green chilies, and onions in its taffy-like folds. More melted cheese came in the form of a wonderful dish of paprika-flecked broiled Neufchatel and cheddar cheeses, the latter giving a nutty backbone to the creamy former.

A thick mound of Neufchatel did a Leaning Tower of Pisa act atop French toast at brunch. Sweet, sticky homemade cajeta draped its oozy embrace across fluffy, honeycombed bread laced with the snap of sliced apples. It was like eating caramel-apple flavored angel food cake.

I don’t usually get too excited about bread programs, but Dai Due’s, helmed by executive pastry chef Abby Love, is the best in the city. Start your dinner with a toasty arch of mesquite smoked bread — crunchy on the outside and flossy inside – served with whipped lard ($6). One night the cloud of lard blended with the rounded, flirtatious sweetness of pear, another with the more direct approach of brilliant honey.

Airy cornbread with whispered sweetness hid in a pool of beef chili sprinkled with slowly melting cheddar, onions and expressive pickled jalapeños. Chef de cuisine Andrew MacArthur (formerly of Fino) and his crew make the chili with ground chuck and shredded plate steak, an oft-overlooked cut that serves as proof of the benefits of having expert butchers stationed feet from the kitchen.

A cold meat board ($16), which included velvety summer sausage, restrained chorizo seco and a mind-bending chicken liver mousse drunk on peach-pit infused brandy, arrived with toasted triangles of caraway-seeded light rye. Perfect bread.

And it makes for the perfect hot pastrami sandwich. A sandwich is only as good as each component. Let’s break it down: The grilled rye, with its gentle anise allure, wasn’t soggy with butter or too brittle and dangerous around the edges. Between the slices: tangy Thousand Island dressing, crunchy and just-disruptive-enough sauerkraut, melted cheddar from Full Quiver Farms in Kemp, Texas, and just the right amount of fragrant pastrami. All products (except the cheese) made in house. All delivered in harmonious proportions. Best pastrami sandwich I’ve had in my life.

Pastry excellence stretches from the start of the meal through dessert, whether with a creamy pumpkin pie in a crumbly crust or a trio of cookies that included savory bacon-pecan, seasonal pumpkin-gingerbread, and (my favorite) a grapefruit cookie swept through with a citrus breeze.

The biggest (but relatively minor) issue I took with my food at Dai Due was the occasional need for acid and spice to cut the meaty dishes. A pork confit banh mi ($13), which needed more chicken liver mousse, benefited from the introduction of smoky chipotle sambal, and a rich patty melt was improved with bread-and-butter pickled jalapeños. I purchased both the sambal and jalapeños from Dai Due’s butcher shop, which left me thinking it would be a wise marketing move for the restaurant to make its excellent homemade condiments available tableside.

The street-facing half of the beautiful space is occupied by a butcher shop overseen by head butcher Julia Poplawsky. A metal rack delivers animals from the walk-in freezer behind the kitchen, past the grill, to the front of the store, where a team of butchers wield their knives with measured precision. You can peer into the butchers’ area from a handsome dining room colored with royal blue banquets and painted wall trim. The oak floor and pecan tables and live-edge counter at the foot of the open kitchen echo the restaurant’s naturalistic approach and the wood-burning grill.

Griffiths, who looks like Paul Giamatti in a hybrid role of mountain man and welder, created the triple-wide, cowboy-style open-fire grill that runs on a pulley system. Oak is Dai Due’s primary wood source, but they take the same approach to wood as they do with ingredients, using the best of what is available, meaning some days you’ll taste peach or mesquite. If diners want dinner straight from the butcher’s case, Griffiths and his team at both ends of the house will recommend meats and cut them to order.

The jars of spices and fermented homemade goods ringing the butcher and bakery space reminded me of a Texas version of award-winning San Francisco restaurant Bar Tartine. Dai Due’s electric kimchi pierced the smoky char of grilled scallions and rosy skirt steak marinated in a piquant sauce tingly with dried chilies and housemade rice wine vinegar ($18).

Dai Due also worked sauce alchemy with a sweet and tangy pinto-honey sauce that brightened a flawless pork shoulder confit ($21). The snap of thin-sliced apple and daikon, spark of jalapeno, and floral cilantro gave complexity in texture and flavor to the fatty pork that was crunchy around the edges and supple throughout.

The sauces on the steak and pork, like the wild grape yeast starter, are indicative of Dai Due’s local, homemade mentality. The earnestness and dedication to the mission are noble, but without execution, the process could come across as a gimmick or a bad “Portlandia” sketch. Just doing something doesn’t validate the idea. Doing it well is what matters. Hell, even Homer Simpson can build a robot.

Dai Due sets you up with their idea and knocks you out with the delivery.