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50th Birthday dinner, Uchi, Barley Swine or ?

Coming up again from SA, this time for my wife's 50th next month. Booked a suite at the St. Cecilia this time for a change from our usual Hotel San Jose stay. Went to Uchiko for our birthdays last year (mine is the day before her) and she's been twice since.
Is Uchi different enough from Uchiko that it's worth checking out? Any other suggestions?
Need some place that is open late enough that our daughter can join us after her class gets out at 9.
Not interested in chains, would prefer fairly short drive from SoCo.
No BBQ or Mexican.


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  1. I think they're pretty similar and of course in a good way. Certainly Barley Swine would be a great departure, as would Foreign and Domestic

    1. why not Congress? sounds like a big occasion.

      1. There's always Jezebel!

        1. I always stick to Uchiko for birthdays (I prefer it to Uchi) because the service is so special and I prefer the menu, and the desserts are out of this world! Also they always give you a free dessert on your birthday, which is nice. Barley Swine is wonderful also, but with the communal seating it's not quite as romantic and special. In a dream world, I'd do one night at Barley Swine (try to get there when it opens so there's no wait) and then the birthday dinner at Uchiko. Also, have you been to Elizabeth Street Cafe? It's near SoCo and has a great atmosphere. Perfect for breakfast or lunch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mandmbklyn

            Same here. Uchiko is my celebration venue of choice. Though I haven't been after Paul won Top Chef, it was relatively easy to book a table 2-3 weeks in advance.

          2. Just saw that you're looking for something after 9pm. Barley Swine sometimes has a wait that late, but you can call and check before you arrive.

            1. Thanks. still figuring out if we can get our daughter to cut her class so we can go out earlier. With communal seating, sounds like Barley Swine would be best left for another night. May see what I can get as far as reservations at the Uchis once they open them up for next month.

              1. I strongly suggest Swift's Attic. Just went for the first time last week and it is definitely worth checking out. Similar to Barley Swine in food quality and style, but with a few more menu items, also they have a full bar with really good cocktails. I believe they may serve food later than the others as well.

                3 Replies
                1. re: SkullCow

                  Is Swift's Attic still ungodly loud? The noise was the worst I've experienced in Austin.

                  1. re: SkullCow

                    I would have to disagree on comparing the food at Swift's Attic to Barley Swine. I think the food at Swift's is good, but nowhere near as inventive or scrumptious as Barley.

                    Swift's is definitely a better place if you are looking for cocktails and more of a party vibe.

                    1. re: SlickTheCat

                      Have to concur with slick here. Swift's attic has good food and is a fun spot, however Barley Swine is in a whole different league. Bryce Gilmore and his staff are churning out James Beard award winning caliber food, and swifts attic is quite a ways from that.

                  2. We just did an anniversary dinner at Cafe Josie on West 6th, not far from SoCo and had a marvelous meal. I stongly recommend it. Functional wine list, not a full bar, but each of the dishes the party tried were excellent. I had the steak and when I say marvelous I mean it. The fingerling potatoes that accompanied the dish paired with the preserved Meyer lemons were good enough to write home about! Even though I thought it was a tad pricey ($300 for a party of 6 with a bottle of wine) I'd eat that meat again in a heart beat!!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gntlmn6464

                      I know they're under new ownership and chef. Have you been before? Did it update?

                    2. Thanks for all the suggestions, but since our daughter can't join us for dinner due to a late class, I think we're going to stay in SA and treat a few people to dinner at Sustenio.
                      Did book the San Jose for Reggae Fest though, looks like a fairly easy walk to the venue from there.