Hama chili, yellowtail, ponzu, thai chili and orange from Uchi restaurant during a preview of its food at a temporary pop-up location on Sunday, April 12, 2015 near Fair Park in Dallas.

Hama chili, yellowtail, ponzu, thai chili and orange from Uchi restaurant during a preview of its food at a temporary pop-up location on Sunday, April 12, 2015 near Fair Park in Dallas.

Ben Torres/Special Contributor

The debut of Uchi in Dallas is easily one of the biggest restaurant moments of the year. The Japanese restaurant got its start in Austin, expanded to Houston and is now opening in Dallas at 5 p.m.  June 1.

James Beard Award winning executive chef Tyson Cole presides over each restaurant, but chef Nilton "Junior" Borges will run the day to day operations in Uchi's Dallas kitchen. 

We weren't allowed to take photos of the interior of the new Uchi yet, so photos from a pop-up dinner April 12, 2015 will have to suffice for now. 

We weren't allowed to take photos of the interior of the new Uchi yet, so photos from a pop-up dinner April 12, 2015 will have to suffice for now. 

Ben Torres/Special Contributor

For a quick preview on why Uchi is important to Dallas' growing restaurant scene, click on this story called "6 things to know about Uchi."

In a sneak peek inside the restaurant last week, crews were just finishing up the woodsy interior. The copper-topped bar is one of the bigger of all the Uchi restaurants, a spokeswoman says. Guests can also sit at a wraparound sushi bar or in the main dining room.

Diners visiting Uchi will likely be in for a wait, but the restaurant has a special patio designed just for those hanging out before tables are ready. Each guest will get a "creative little bite," says a spokeswoman, for free while they wait. Chefs will make whatever inspires them that day, and it will change regularly.

The homey dining room is washed in walnut and panels of red, tan and brown patterned wallpaper.

On the patio to the right, patrons will wait for their tables and receive a free, savory bite.

On the patio to the right, patrons will wait for their tables and receive a free, savory bite.

Sarah Blaskovich

The new Uchi will have a private dining room that can seat up to 24 people. (More can fit in the rectangular space if standing.)

Eventually, a second, separate restaurant will open above the existing Uchi in Uptown Dallas on Maple Avenue. But for now, mum's the word on what it'll be. Crews plan to open Uchi first, then finish out the second-floor space and reveal the concept. All we know so far is it'll be more casual than Uchi downstairs and chef Borges will be in charge.

As for Uchi's menu, Borges has a variety of Asian dishes separated into sections such as cold dishes, hot dishes, tempuraed and fried offerings, sushi and sashimi, and special chef's tastings. Special Dallas-only dishes include gyutoro: wagyu short rib braised for 72 hours, then served with Asian pear terrine compressed with Thai basil; and kamo nabe: duck confit served in a bowl with an egg yolk atop crispy rice and kale, then finished with Korean chili and black pepper sauce.

Peek at the menu below. And make plans soon; it's bound to be busy. 

2817 Maple Ave., Dallas. uchirestaurants.com. Open 7 days a week beginning at 5 p.m. June 1. Reservations recommended but not required: uchirestaurants.com/dallas/uchi-reservations or 214-855-5454.

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