Noodles, noodles, noodles – if you like noodles, then Kim Phung is the place for you. This eatery does not have fancy decor or a designer address, but their signature pho noodle soup is the best lunch in Austin. This beef noodle soup is available in more than 10 varieties, and you can customize to your personal taste using cilantro, lime, peppers or other herbs and flavorings. All total, there are more than 40 different noodle dishes on Kim Phung's menu. Before they head back to the office, Austin workers sample a cup of Kim Phung's Thai coffee. It is served over ice and sweetened with condensed milk – the perfect pick-me-up!
It's not just a barbecue restaurant. Din Ho's menu features over 200 dishes and provides extensive offerings for vegetarians. A favorite is black mushrooms with bok choy in a light soy sauce, but Chinese broccoli sautéed with ginger is a winner as well. Cantonese roast duck and barbecued pork are meaty standouts with rich, authentic flavors hard to find elsewhere. The ambience is decidedly causal, making Din Ho ideal for a quick lunch with co-workers or a festive family-style dinner with friends.
A long-time favorite for affordable, satisfying Thai food, this casual spot is tops for a quick lunch or a relaxed meal. The vast menu includes more than 20 specially-labeled, super-spicy dishes like Spontaneous Combustion, which marries seafood and chicken in a fiery stew with chilis, basil, and bird pepper, and Nuclear Fishin, a hot green curry-doused steamed fish filet accented with basil, coconut milk, and bird pepper. Of course, you may prefer something a bit tamer, and plenty of mild-to-medium options suit any palate, along with lots of vegetarian choices.
Purists, take note: the big draw at Musashino is traditional Tokyo-style sushi, eaten without soy sauce or wasabi. Of course, the menu includes a variety of choices, but "hybrid" sushi options stand out. Among them are the Ozzy roll (avocado, scallions, rice paper, salmon or tuna), and the Evel Knievel roll (salmon, avocado, cucumber, and ooba leaf with smelt roe and sesame seeds). You'll certainly feel more than comfortable ordering the omakase, which only includes the best of the best and represents a good value as well.
If you believe sushi can only be prepared properly by a Japanese chef, are you in for a surprise! Uchi's owner-chef, Tyson Cole, is as American as they come, although he did spend several years under the tutelage of Austin's master sushi chef, Takehiko "Smokey" Fuse. The food, particularly sushi, is colorful and artfully presented. Cole strives to make sushi approachable to the masses, so in addition to traditional varieties, you'll find cooked sushi and creative American versions designed to appeal to folks who don't like seafood.
Mikado's soothing and stylish earth-toned décor makes it a fine option for a quiet dinner for two or a small group, but perhaps the most notable thing about the restaurant is their wide-ranging menu. Sushi is a big draw – it's supremely fresh and well-prepared – but there are so many other options that even non-fans will be satisfied. Order a traditional appetizer-main course meal, or try a tapas-style meal with skewers of grilled teriyaki steak or shrimp, sake-steamed mussels, fried calamari or tempura veggies. At lunch, Mikado has wonderful bento box combinations that are as attractive as they are flavorful and filling.
You may think a Japanese restaurant would have precious little that appeals to a child's palate, but that's not the case here. Guests are seated around grill tables, where patrons can enjoy an entire meal, from tasty miso soup right through to plum ice cream. In between, vegetables and meats become little morsels of acrobatic prowess as an athletic, personable chef slices, dices, sears, and otherwise prepares your meal – flashing steel and fiery grill tricks enchant most children (and adults!). Don't be surprised if your youngster wants to try something completely new – after all, food that's fun to watch must be equally good to eat, right? Try the lunch specials and happy hour as well.