Sneak peek of things to come at Soto South Lamar!
Disclosure: I attended a complimentary tasting at Soto – South Lamar on Oct 17, 2017. All opinions are my own.
Shortly after moving to Austin in May 2013, I was shopping in Cedar Park and spotted what appeared to be a small traditional Japanese Izakaya nestled between two large retail stores. Intrigued, I walked in and was amazed at the inviting large space, smiling faces, and incredibly fresh looking fish. I immediately called a friend, who was on the opposite side of town, and told him to please come check out this restaurant with me. I was sitting at the sushi bar less than hour later, met Chef Andy Okamoto for the first time, and knew Soto had me hook, line, and sinker…no pun intended. I felt so lucky to have found the amazing restaurant just two months after they opened.
Fast forward several years, after dining at Soto CP on a regular basis, not missing any of their anniversary celebrations, and even attending a holiday party, I was thrilled to hear of an additional location. I was so honored to receive an invite to the first “VIP/friends/family” soft opening night at their new SoLa location. Chef Andy et al have gained a cult following among Austin sushi snobs and a second location is well-warranted. The new Lamar Union space is great with a large bar lounge area at the entrance (where they will eventually offer happy hour and bar only bites), a spacious sleek monochromatic dining room, and a nice sized sushi bar along the back wall in clear sight of all the other diners.
Having set such high standards of quality, preparation, and presentation over the years at the North locale, I had no doubts that I would be pleased during their launch, and I was right. I didn’t think it could get any better, but the staff and Chef titillated my eyes and mouth to new depths throughout the evening with each amazing dish being offered one after the other. All so innovative, well executed, and stunning. You won’t find any soy sauce on the the tables at Soto South Lamar. You won’t need it (can ask if desired). The elevated dishes are meant to be enjoyed as is; each dressed and seasoned as needed.
Began the evening with a sweet and delicate Hotate with yuzu zest, choyu, micro cilantro, and ikura. The perfect start to what became a 12-course tasting menu, ending with lightly seared 85 Wagyu (the best!), crispy scallion, garnished with edible gold flakes and housemade delicate Tomoga as “dessert.” Some standout favorites during the progression included the Yaki Soba Uni Pasta with perfectly poached egg. Incredibly creamy, indulgent, savory well-balanced delight. The lightly seared super fresh Tuna Tartari with reduced smoked soy and shaved black truffle melted in my mouth and made me want to ask for another ten pieces. The surprise bite of the night was the highest grade King Salmon Toro served on a housemade potato chip, garnished with micro-cilantro. The perfect radical bite and balance of amazing flavors and textures. Took the term “fish and chip” to a whole other level. All simply heavenly. Just what I would expect from Soto. And nobody would have known this was the very first service ever. Soto – South Lamar ran like a well rehearsed orchestra with Chef Andy as a hands on conductor. I am so happy for the Soto Group and look forward to many future wonderful dining experiences.
Posted below are just a preview of things to come. Some of the items pictured might or might not make the menu. Official public soft opening is tonight, Friday Oct 27 @5pm (grand opening night tbd). Currently dinner only Tuesdays through Sundays (update: 12/04/2017). Reservations are highly recommended and can be made via phone or through Open Table.
1100 South Lamar Blvd
Austin TX, 78704