“Don’t panic.” It’s advice given to people in various overwhelming situations: shark attacks, trips to Ikea, organizing your closet for the first time in two years, etc. And it applies to eating at Uchi, too. Because, while the Wynwood Japanese restaurant can be excellent, it can also be really hard to figure out what to eat here.
That is because, at the time of this writing, there are 87 dishes (including dessert) on Uchi’s menu. They range from cold dishes like crudo to cooked dishes like pork belly - as well as rows and rows of a la carte sashimi and nigiri. And if you’re here with someone you’re trying to impress, it’s easy to get a bit anxious while combing through Uchi’s massive a la carte menu, praying you didn’t accidentally just order enough food for a rugby team (or so little food you’ll both be hitting up a drive-thru after dinner).
But the good news: we have yet to taste something here that isn’t really delicious. And more good news: Uchi does provide a consistent antidote to their long menu in the form of your server. They are informed, accommodating, and happy to act as your tour guide through the Ken-Burns-documentary-size menu. During one dinner here, we simply told our server things we liked (and didn’t), how much money we wanted to spend, and he proceeded to course out an outstanding meal for us, consisting of perfectly cooked halibut with coconut beurre blanc, phenomenal unagi, and salmon belly nigiri that practically evaporated the second we put it on our tongue. There are also tasting menu options too, which take you through some of the menu’s greatest hits and start at $100 per person for six courses.
But, even if you decide to wing it, you’re not necessarily going to have a bad meal. The only downside to just ordering anything that sounds great is that you run the risk of spending a lot of money for a small amount of food, since the portions can be pretty small.
And while food is certainly the main event here, it’s not the only reason to come to Uchi. It’s a fun restaurant, the kind of place where you can sip cocktails, laugh loudly, and leave not too full to go bar-hopping around Wynwood afterward. It feels worthy of a special occasion, but not needlessly fancy or ostentatious. Sure, it requires some planning, trust, and the expectation that you’re probably going to spend a decent amount of money. But as long as you go in knowing and accepting these things rather than panicking at the sight of a menu the size of all your unanswered emails from the last 30 days - Uchi is special. Almost as special as finally throwing out that pair of pants that haven’t fit since 2016.
This is one of Uchi’s more popular dishes and is absolutely worth ordering. It’s six slices of yellowtail sashimi sitting in a perfectly spicy puddle of Thai chili ponzo and orange wedges. It’s sweet, spicy, and all the flavors highlight the fish.
We really loved everything about this dish. The bigeye tuna is, like all raw fish here, just about perfect. But the aji amarillo is also worth sucking up with a straw and the pumpkin seed granola gives it all a nice texture.
The karaage chicken needs to be on the table for a couple reasons. For one, it’s a filling dish and a solid portion, which is useful since so many dishes here are just a few bites. But more than that, it’s really good. The chicken is crunchy, but also coated in sweet chili sauce that can probably make your shoe taste good.
The skin is so crispy you could do a drum solo on it, and the fish itself will make you want to give the ocean a hug. But the best part might just be the coconut beurre blanc foam situation that’s poured onto the plate. The buttery, coconut flavor is to this fish what Big Boi was to Andre 3000. And just a head’s up: we have seen them use grouper instead of halibut in this dish, so double check with your server if you don’t see the halibut on the menu.
The pomegranate really comes through in this dish, which is a good thing. Apparently trout and pomegranate are the unlikely fish/fruit duo you never knew you needed.
Dessert here is a good idea, especially the fried milk, which is as delicious as it sounds. The aesthetically-pleasing dessert includes a scoop of vanilla custard, salted fudge, a toasted blondie, and little balls of fried milk you get to crack open with a spoon.