Most Austinites are familiar with the busy intersection of Burnet Road and 183 but little may be known about the Pacific Rim Sushi and Yakitori Lounge. My best guess, busy daily commuters may not be aware of the charming experience that awaits them just inside these doors. Once you step into this unique establishment you will not question if you are coming back or not. The ambiance is welcoming, clean, and showcases special touches, such as the repurposed saki bottles on each table containing soy sauce.
Owner, Benny Leung, and his business partner, Rolando Osorio opened the doors in Spring 2015. Tucked into the corner spot of the strip mall facing Burnet Road, this little gem is a treasure chest for sushi and yakitori lovers. Their vision was to create fresh menu choices, personalized service and distinct flavors in an inviting atmosphere. Happy hour is available Monday through Friday from 3—11pm, Saturday 5pm—12am and Sunday 5—11pm. The happy hour selections include extensive offerings including sushi, drinks, yakitori, tapas and salads.
The sushi and sashimi bar provides generous portions, and offers traditional choices along with specialty pieces such as the Buddha Roll containing pickled vegetables. The sushi is all prepared on-site along with the homemade sauces. Benny personally oversees all the menu selections, maintaining the integrity of the cuisine and mindfulness of the patrons.
If sushi is not your thing, try the yakitori skewers, which includes your choice of protein grilled on a skewer. Rumor has it, the pork belly ranks high on the preference of the regular clientele.
Daily Bowls have recently been added to the menu for weekday lunch. Blending traditional Japanese taste with a modern twist, customers have the ideal option of moving away from the typical lunch choices, to fresh ingredients and innovative combinations. Among the favorite are the teriyaki rice bowl, udon soup bowl (a thick Japanese wheat noodle), as well as non-traditional options such as the sake etouffee bowl and the sake mac & cheese bowl.
In March, Pacific Rim Sushi and Yakitori Lounge launched a new dinner service — Japanese hot rock dinner. Similar, yet more personal, to hibachi cooking, the diner will experience the art of cooking their meal directly at the table. The concept involves a hot trivet placed upon a rack at your table. Throw in the various protein choices, including but not limited to, beef, duck, salmon, chicken or tofu. Accompanied by a variety of fresh veggies, garlic butter and a mouth-watering homemade ginger dressing and you have the makings of a great date night or family fun night. The waitress will demonstrate how to cook the food, then the customer takes over and the fun begins. The best part is that you don’t have to share the experience at a table full of strangers, like other traditional cooktop experiences.
Make sure and save room for the mochi, a small round Japanese confection. The exterior is soft, crushed sticky rice, filled with ice cream. It is tricky to express in words — it must be experienced to truly appreciate this unique dessert. The combination of the smooth exterior coating with the coolness of the ice cream center should not be missed!
Next time you find yourself looking for a fresh lunch idea, fun date night, family fun night or happy hour location be sure to stop in to Pacific Rim Sushi and Yakitori Lounge. I promise Benny and the staff will take great care of you.