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Aug 11, 2011 11:58 AM

Afin Sushi

Haven't seen any reviews or mentions here for Afin Sushi up on N. Lamar yet, so I though I'd give it a go for my delurking. It's in the shell of what was the Korean Garden, but has been thoroughly revamped. It's like some sort of deep blue aircraft hanger or catacomb, albeit with the usual trendy and minimalist fittings - and home to some very interesting offerings.

The place was almost empty on the evening we went, so we got very attentive service but not annoyingly so. After a curious twist on tempura, we stuck to the sushi menu - the nigiri pieces were each big enough to share, which is fortunate as we'd forgotten what we ordered and each claimed them all when they were presented. Not entirely traditional - the salmon came with dill mayo and avocado, the blackened tuna (my favorite) with honey wasabi and a little dollop of goats' cheese. The rolls are, well, spectacular, both in size and execution, although the names are a little bit too "Torchy's" for my liking. The Sanchez, takes the old standby of salmon, avocado and cream cheese, tops it with red and white tuna, then a sauce with a real slow burn to it, manages to take these fairly humdrum ingredients to a new level. The Crunchy Munchy lived up to both halves of its name. The OMG was total food porn that demanded photographing before eating, if only for the black, red and green "trio of caviar". It might be the best sushi I've tasted in Austin, fresh and succulent and inventive, but more investigation is called for. The food looks so good that I'd like to hear what less easily swayed critics have to say....

Oh, and bonus points for being completely free of gratuitous salad garnish - when you've seen one carved radish you really don't need to see any more.

Desert was a bit of a comedown - banana choco egg roll with green tea ice cream. Sounded like it could have been sensational, but wasn't. And in hindsight, and without the sake, it actually doesn't sound sensational at all. I suspect that after the age of 24 months you should leave cooked banana alone.

Prices are reasonable - we had a $60 Groupon and had to get that desert so that we didn't look like the sort of people whose only joy is to spend not a penny more. At Happy Hour things get silly and prices drop below Maki, How Do You Roll levels. So please try the place, they deserve better than half a dozen customers a night.

6519 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78752

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  1. according to their website, this is one of chef choo's joints.
    i hope it doesn't meant he left osaka mansun on 183 and anderson mill!
    it's my favorite NW sushi place; he totally turned the menu around a few years back.
    and, his seared tuna with honey wasabi and goats' cheese is one of my all-time favorites.
    OM has a banana chocolate egg roll too, and people seem to like it but so not my thing...
    they also have ridiculously prices at happy hour, so it sounds like a great trend to me!

    i am definitely going to have to investigate this place, even though OM is so close to home.

    looking at afin's menu, this seems more upscale than OM but there are some similar dishes.
    the entrees also sound intriguing. sea urchin butter? yes, please.
    the dessert of agar-agar paper, red beans and lemon granita could be promising.

    1. Oh my. This wasn't on my radar, and now it's rocketing to the top of my to try list. Thanks for the great review!

      1. I wondered how long KH had after the last time I went. Such a sad, rapid decline...