Komé Sushi

If there were a void in Austin’s dining scene, it would have to be the lack of high in quality, mid-range in price sushi restaurants. Though I would gladly spend the rest of my days devouring nigiri at Uchi or Uchiko, my bank account sadly begs to differ. While there are a handful of budget friendly places where one can appease a craving for a spicy tuna roll, there were, until recently, only one or two options where one could find high-quality sushi without a high-end price tag. Save for the highly recommended Musashino up north, I have often left mid-priced sushi restaurants in town with the sense the cost and quality didn’t equate. However, thanks to Airport Blvd.’s Komé Sushi, Austinites now have one more exception to this rule.

 

Komé Chazuke - $9

Komé Chazuke – $9

Before opening last year their Zen-like brick and mortar last year, husband and wife team Kayo and Také Asazu first built a loyal following with their Sushi-A-Go-Go trailer eateries. In developing the Komé menu, the Asazu’s looked beyond sushi to also incorporate well-loved Japanese-comfort foods such as selections of ‘Yaki’ or grilled skewers and ‘Agé’ or fried plates. Lunch offerings include bento boxes and noodle bowls, including a much-lauded trio of ramen dishes. Much like the sushi rolls, most dinner plates are perfect for sharing and priced under $10, allowing guests to sample several items off of both menus, such as on this particular visit.

Yakiniku-kushi - $6

Yakiniku-kushi – $6

Our meal started on a high note with a bowl of the daily miso and a seaweed salad. The salad was cool, crunchy, and bright while the miso’s unexpected veggie blend was warm and filled with subtle umami flavor.  Up next was a satisfying order of dumplings stuffed with a tender, tasty pork and vegetable mixture. The first test of the night, a chef’s selection of nigiri, arrived to the table next. The sample plate included three pieces of nigiri, each topped with a unique variety of toppings from plum jelly to crispy scallions. Overall, the creative, complex plate was filled with little surprises and lots of flavor but needed a bit of editing to keep the star of the show, the fish, from getting lost. For $6, an order of Yakiniku-kushi, or beef skewers, was a filling, bang for your buck, not to mention quite tasty.

For our second to last dish, we jumped back to the sushi menu, which is filled with house favorites as well as traditional sushi rolls. Komé very clearly sets itself apart from similar establishments by offering consistently fresh and high-quality sushi. For example, while many places use a mask of mayo to hide lower grade tuna in a spicy tuna roll, Komé’s version is similar to a tartare. The result is a lighter, more delicious roll.

The meal ended on a high note once the star of the evening, the Komé Chazuke, arrived. This simple rice and salmon dish was brimming with comforting flavors and textures. The dish consists of a thick layer of rice topped with crisp salmon skin, salmon sashimi, salmon roe, and fried scallions served with a citrusy sweet broth poured tableside. Each layer of the dish was delicious on its own and sung once blended together.

Komé’s knack for serving consistently delicious meals, casual atmosphere, and (by comparison) general affordability mean it’s also one of the more popular places in town so be prepared to throw your name on the list. However, like most good things, it’s also worth the wait.

Komé Austin, 4917 Airport Blvd., Austin, TX 78751. 512.712.7500. Open Monday – Friday 11am-2pm (lunch)/5-10pm (dinner) and Saturday – Sunday 12-3pm (lunch)/5-10pm (dinner).  http://www.kome-austin.com.

Chef's Nigiri Selection

Chef’s Nigiri Selection

Spooky Roll - $9

Spooky Roll – $9

Pork Gyoza - $5

Pork Gyoza – $5

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