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Restaurant Review: Kenobi Restaurant and Sushi Bar

A modern Japanese eatery in North Austin

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Kenobi Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Austin

Kenobi Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Emily Starbuck Gerson
Whether you adore fresh sushi, fantastic cocktails, or unusual combinations of flavors, you will enjoy Kenobi. This new Japanese restaurant and sushi bar is located in North Austin's Arboretum. Kenobi's modern Asian style in addition to its innovative cuisine make it a hip place to nosh and drink.

The Essentials

Address:
10000 Research Blvd #138A (between Serrano's and TGI Friday's)
Austin, TX 78759

Phone: (512) 241-0119

Hours:
Monday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Tues. – Thurs.: 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m.-12 a.m.
Saturday: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Sunday: 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

The Vibe

Kenobi embodies a hip and modern Asian style throughout. Sit at the stylish sushi bar for fresh, hand-made rolls. Grab a comfortable booth in the main dining area for a full meal and enjoy the hand-painted tables. If you’re grabbing some drinks and appetizers for happy hour, you can sit at the bar or the bar tables, but for a more intimate encounter, sit in the lounge in the cozy and sleek white Japanese-styled couches for two, backed in bamboo. If the weather is enjoyable, sit outside in the Zen garden-style patio flanked in bamboo and white stones. Even the bathrooms are chic, outfitted in modern sinks that are flat and square, and to be honest, somewhat mesmerizing!

The Drinks

Kenobi's drink menu is as robust as the sushi menu and is full of options for all types of drinkers.

There are a variety of delectable specialty martinis, including a white chocolate martini, tiramisu martini (yum!), lychee martini, pomegranate martini, and even a hpnotiq saketini. The extensive sake menu offers a variety of flavors and finishes. If you're a more traditional drinker, Kenobi also offers dozens of white and red wines.

Happy hour is the perfect time to taste Kenobi's drinks. Enjoy it in the bar, in lounge, or out on the patio. It is held every Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and every Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. During happy hour, you will enjoy select appetizers and rolls for $5 and will receive $1 off all drinks.

The Food

Kenobi's executive chef Egil Valentin’s dishes are highly creative and refreshingly innovative. Love crème brulee? Get wild and try the escolar brulee, which is in the same style but made of spicy miso, shiitakes, garlic chips and asparagus. Foodies will love the coffee rub new york strip, served with coriander, fingerling potatoes, mushrooms, soy fluid gel and bok choy. The food is artistically arranged on unusually shaped plates, adding another enjoyable element to the modern dining experience.

The appetizers are also very tasty. Forget boring and bland dumplings; I had some of the best dumplings of my life at Kenobi. Their gyoza dumplings are like a sophisticated crab Rangoon, fried and filled with gooey goodness. They are stuffed with crab, lobster and goat cheese and can be dipped in sweet unagi sauce. I enjoyed them with a side of hot edamame pods and a bowl of flavorful miso soup.

Kenobi’s specialty, of course, is sushi. You can order house specialty rolls, hand rolls, sushi (one piece) or sashimi (five pieces). One great house specialty is the shaggy dog, which contains shrimp tempura, cucumber, kanikama, spicy mayo, and spicy pepper paste. If you can’t make up your mind, order a sushi plate combination, which comes with soup or salad and a gorgeously presented variety of sushi pieces.

The lunch plate bentos are perfect for an afternoon meal, each of which are served with rice, soup or salad and veggies (steamed or tempura).

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