Earlier this month, Top Knot closed. The lighthearted concept from Austin’s Hai Hospitality opened in 2016 and was one of D Magazine‘s best new restaurants that year. The space and food were lively (I mean, short rib and kimchi poutine? Come on!), but the restaurant felt disjointed from its sister concept, Uchi.
Uchiba, the new cocktail and sushi-focused concept that has replaced Top Knot, opened last night. The restaurant feels like a relaxed version of Uchi; kind of like a nice lounge to accommodate the inevitable Uchi overspill. It’s like a smart, rebranding opportunity, one that entices people who are craving chef-owner Tyson Cole’s classics, like machi cure, hama chilli, and karaage, but couldn’t snag a reservation downstairs.
The menu offers a selection of “Uchi classics,” mixed with some of Top Knot’s greatest hits (yes, you can still order the hot fried chicken bun), and some new bar bites. Also, unlike Uchi (which only serves beer, wine, and sake) you can order cocktails at Uchiba. Many, of course, incorporate sake and Japanese whisky. Oh, and they’re doing brunch, which is pretty much the same exact menu that was offered at Top Knot; why mess with a good thing, right?