Japanese tradition and culinary innovation fuse at the award-winning Uchi restaurant in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood. Uchi Denver is the fourth Uchi concept from Austin-based restaurant group Hai Hospitality, and the first outside of Texas. From the spices and sauces used to enhance their nigiri, sashimi and makimono, to the flair they pair with their specialty dishes, Uchi’s menu is diverse and interesting. You won’t find the regular rolls you’re used to seeing here, only expertly crafted dishes with the finest ingredients from around the world.
Uchi Denver is the first to have a full bar and cocktail program, I guess they know Denverites like to drink, in addition to their comprehensive offering of sakes, beer, and wine. To our delight, they uphold the tradition of sake social with Happy Hour from 5-6:30pm nightly with $3 sake and Kirin beer, $7 wine, and a great selection of sushi and other tasty bites!
Uchi’s fabulous food and fish is due to their close relationships with local farmers and the Fukuoka and Tsukiji markets in Japan from which they fly in seafood every day. Combining seasonal ingredients with a spectrum of seafood from around the globe, Uchi invites diners to expand their expectations and boundaries. We were recommended to experience the Omakase – Chef’s Tasting of 10 courses – and we were surprised and delighted by the diverse dishes. Uchi also offers a smaller Signature Tasting (six courses) and a Vegetarian Tasting (six course) in addition to their full menu.
We started with a Social Hour roll and the Machi Cure (pictured below) composed of yucca chips, smoked yellowtail, pear and Marcona almonds. This dish looked like a contemporary art piece and was just as intriguing on the palate. Next was their house named Uchi Salad, beautiful local greens wrapped around jicama with a cashew pesto sauce. The greens in this salad are sourced directly from the restaurant’s rooftop greenhouse, a partnership with Altius Farms and the only Hai property to have such a feature!
James Beard Award-winning Chef Tyson Cole leads the team in Denver with his signature non-traditional take on Japanese food. Having trained for more than 10 years in Tokyo, New York, and Austin under two different sushi masters, he continues his path of study and experimentation each day at the restaurants in the Hai Hospitality family. Employing classical cooking techniques with a Pacific Rim perspective, Cole marries global ingredients with traditional Japanese flavors, resulting in inspired combinations of flavor, texture, color, technique, and style.
If someone in your group prefers a heartier alternative to sashimi and sushi, Uchi doesn’t disappoint there either. The menu features savory meat and vegetable dishes like their Wagyu beef taster, insanely good Brussels Sprouts, tempura veggies, chicken wings, and a 72-hour braised short rib sushi.
Everyone should save a little room for dessert as these sweet endings are just as inventive and flavor-dynamic as the rest of the menu. Options range from the decadent Fried Milk (pictured above), those golden balls are the fried milk cream, with chocolate ganache and vanilla custard. Or go light with a gluten free, dairy free dessert such as the coconut tapioca, or meet in the middle with their lovely jasmine cream (pictured below) with pineapple and a honey crumble base.
Uchi Denver has become one of Denver’s hottest restaurants, with eager eaters lining up at all hours of the night to get a taste. They do accept limited reservations, so we suggest you pick a date a couple weeks out and secure a spot!
Words by Tiffany Candelaria @TCdoesFnB Photos by Samantha Bliss @RedCapturesherBliss