This post has been a long time coming! I dined at Kemuri Tatsu-ya multiple times in the past years and finally got some better photos in December 2019. But then 2020 happened. I dined most recently at the beginning of December 2020 for my birthday. They’ve changed up their menu to adapt, so I wanted to make sure I got all the details first-hand. Keep reading to learn all about this East Austin restaurant!
Even now, dining out seems risky, and getting to-go can be a mediocre experience. Make the best decision for yourself and be responsible. All my experiences at Kemuri have been stellar, especially most recently with their omakase, and they now have protocols in place to also give you a safe experience. This includes required masks, distancing, staff safety, and more. See their detailed guidelines on their website.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya opened in 2017 and is an izakaya, a Japanese word that means casual drinking place like a pub or tapas bar. They call themselves a Texas izakaya because they join Texas barbecue and Japanese flavors. You’ll know the co-owners/chefs from their popular ramen shop, Ramen Tatsu-ya, Domo Alley-Gato Tatsu-Ya, and their most recent addition, DipDipDip Tatsu-ya.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya is tucked away in the neighborhood in East Austin (on 2nd Street before Pleasant Valley Road). If you’ve ever been to a Tasu-ya establishment, you know they’re beautifully designed to feel like you’ve been transported to a Japanese restaurant.
Kemuri Tatsu-ya Before
As an izakaya, the restaurant is known for its small plates. I love this setup because you can taste many delicious bites. The menu featured smoked and skewers, and my must-order dishes included the brisket and fish collar.
The chinmi, rarities or delicacies, are more adventurous bites. They’re labeled “not funky” to “you nasty.” Be a fearless foodie and try some new and unfamiliar flavors here!
I should back up and say, if you drink alcohol, check out the drink menu! You’ll find plenty of sake choices, of course. I love their Puff Puff Pass cocktail. It’s for two people and comes in a cute pufferfish cup.
Omakase at Kemuri Tatsu-ya
To streamline their offerings, they’re now offering three omakase / set menus. Each menu has about 10 different dishes. Here are the omakase options:
- O-Niku Omakase ($75) – meat-focused
- O-Sakana Omakase ($80) – fish-focused
- O-Yasai Omakase ($65) – vegetable-focused
When Will and I dined, we got the meat and fish omakase with their sake flight. The flight of three sakes is $30. The following shares the dishes we enjoyed and know the menu may change. The menu does follow a general outline of small bites, ceviche, skewers, bento box, barbecue, and dessert.
The first three bites are the sakizuke, like amuse bouche. Some tasty flavors came from these small dishes of edamame, green beans, and carrots.
We also enjoyed an additional bite of tasty toro. They’ll share a few special dishes available at the beginning of the meal.
Ceviche! It’s a refreshing dish brightened up by orange and complimented with the chip crunch.
The yakitori, skewers, will share three different bites. The meat omakase featured chicken oysters and a chicken meatball with a dipping egg. The fish omakase featured shrimp and scallop. Both had a mushroom skewer.
The next savory dish was a bento box that comes with a description card because it’s a lot of flavors! It wasn’t too funky for us and these little bites were very interesting.
The final savory dish was the make-your-own hand roll. The DIY reminded me of DipDipDip! Look at them tricking us to make our own food again. 😉 Both the brisket and fish were great with the rice and veggies.
Ok, now for dessert! We had the soy pillow, which was a sweet tofu dessert. It reminded me of something simpler I loved eating as a kid, tofu topped with sweet ginger syrup. This was delicious!
We love eating omakase because it makes dining somewhat of a surprise, a fun adventure! Kemuri Tatsu-ya has shifted to omakase only to make it easier on their team (and to guarantee a higher revenue per cover?), but I hope they keep this option in the long term. Omakase is a little more formal than their izakaya vibe, but we dine in a similar way when we’re here anyway.
Details for Your Visit
Ready to dine at Kemuri Tatsu-ya? Here’s what you need to know.
- Ambiance: Warm, intimate
- Attire: Casual
- Noise Level: Average
- Reservation: Yes
- Groups: Groups of six maximum
- Outdoor Seating: Kind of, enclosed with heaters for winter
- Parking: Very small lot, free street parking
2713 E 2nd St, Austin, TX 78702
Have you dined at Kemuri Tatsu-ya? What dishes did you love?
P.P.S. Want to read more about restaurants? See my restaurant posts here.