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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Upmarket restaurant

Mon–Fri 11:00am–2:00pm
Mon–Fri 5:30pm–10:00pm
Sat 5:30pm–10:00pm

Bar Beer, wine
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Round Rock
17 miles from Austin
110 N. IH-35
Round Rock, TX
(512) 238-6522
Pass on the rest of the menu, and get to the terrific sushi as soon as possible

Origami’s got that adorably suburban ethos in its décor—the miniature Japanese garden, traditional lanterns, and requisite flowing fountain. It’s also one of the only restaurants in the Austin area with traditional tatami dining. (Who doesn’t like to sit in a hollowed-out floor?) But the bar, despite its annoying flatscreen TVs, is really where sushi aficionados should sit to get the benefit of the chefs’ expertise.

Rolls are typical, and tempura and eggrolls are poorly fried with mushy, doughy interiors. Don’t get too excited about the ramen, either; the broths are somewhat watery and the noodles no more winning than the reconstituted ones in the cup. Where Origami shines is in its sashimi and nigiri. The selection is impressive, with kampachi (amberjack), suzuki (sea bass), abura bozu (escolar), and anago (sea eel) among them. The toro is big-eye tuna, instead of the overfished bluefin—a nice eco-conscious move, but unfortunately it’s rather lean and mealy. Grilled aji (Japanese horse mackerel) is terrific.

The shorter-grain rice has been a tad underseasoned lately; also, the traditional spread of wasabi between the fish and meshi is left off, presumably to cater to local tastes. You can ask for fresh-grated wasabi, however, an herbaceous and spritely experience that blows the pasty versions out of the water. (Like Origami does to its Round Rock competitors.)

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