Serving up sumptuous dishes and vibrant flavors aplenty, newly appointed chef de cuisine for Uchiko Houston Shaun King dishes it out.
The new menu offers a little something for all with colorful cuisine and wow-worthy flavors.
When did your love for the culinary arts begin? The love of this industry was sparked by the sense of community that is represented within a restaurant. A restaurant is a melting pot of diversity, which inspires me daily. Food is often used as a means of retaining people’s cultural identity— people from different cultural backgrounds eat different foods.
Tell us about Uchiko Houston. The new space will prominently feature the idea of fire and ice. Having a live-fire hearth on the sushi bar is very exciting and offers a myriad possible flavor combinations and sensations. Also, the new space has a full bar and gives us the opportunity to highlight Japanese whisky pairings. Just like the food, the bar program matches the ethos of exceptional products, fire and time.
Favorite dish on the menu? We are working on a variety of new dishes that are helping to define the Uchiko brand. But my favorite dish is our dry-aged smoked duck. The duck is dry-aged for at least a week, then marinated in red wine, Cocchi Americano, Okinawan brown sugar, orange juice and five spices. Then [it is] smoked and cooked over coals and served with charred cabbage and housemade stone fruit hoisin sauce.
When you’re on your own accord, what are you cooking when at home?
I love to cook simple and usually vegetable or fish focused. Crispy skinon fish, charred veggies and lots of lemon and herbs. Also, lots of one-pot cooking in a nabe or Dutch oven— braises and stews—channeling my inner grandmother-style cooking.
When you’re not in the kitchen, where can we find you?
I’m usually fighting traffic. But for fun, I skateboard down EZ 7 trying not to die.
1 savoy cabbage
2 each endives (any color)
1 each radicchio castelfranco
50/50 salt to sugar by weight
2 oz. Parmesan, shaved on microplane
Cut all cabbage and endive in half and cure with 50/50 for at least an hour. Chop into uniform bite-sized pieces.
21 oz. chopped walnuts
16 oz. unsalted butter
4.2 oz. canola or vegetable oil
3 oz. garlic, shaved thin
5 oz. red onion, sliced thin
1 oz. Fresno chiles, shaved thin
9 oz. fish sauce
7.5 oz. lemon juice
6 oz. tamarind puree
0.25 oz. cracked black pepper
Melt Butter in a small pot. Add chopped walnuts and heat over medium low to slowly toast, stirring often. When butter and walnuts have toasted to golden brown, add onions and chiles. Once those soften, add the garlic. By now the butter and walnuts should be deeply browned.
Add vegetable oil to cool down the mixture. Deglaze the pan with fish sauce, lemon juice and tamarind. Remove from heat and reserve for later use.
Photography by: COURTESY OF UCHIKO HOUSTON