If the former, a revered Japanese spot, were a music student at Juilliard, the latter would have been its spunky relative in a punk rock band. In fact, if diners didn't know the restaurants, which resided on two floors in the same building, were from the same family, they may not have guessed — save for the fact they both served Asian food.
Top Knot (upstairs) closed in mid-January to make way for Uchiba, a Japanese bar and eatery that is very much an extension of Uchi. It opened Jan. 31, essentially adding 140 seats to owner and executive chef Tyson Cole's renowned haunt downstairs.
That's not to say the restaurants are exactly the same. Chef de cuisine Alex Astranti, who developed the new menu, did include some of Uchi's staples, such as the karaage (chicken thigh with sweet chili and pickles; $10.50), Brussels sprouts ($7.50), hirame usuzukuri (thinly-sliced flounder with candied quinoa; $16.50) and zero sen (yellowtail with avocado, cilantro and shallot; $12.50). Sushi and sashimi, such as namahotate (dayboat scallop; $5.50) and akami (tuna loin; $5-$26), also make an appearance on the upstairs menu.
But as part of the effort to differentiate the two concepts, Uchiba renovations included the installation of a yakitori grill, so guests can order shareable skewer plates, such as elotes ($6), pork belly ($9), prawn ($14) and king trumpet mushroom ($6.50). There are also bar bites like the tiger cry bao (pork belly steam bun; $7.50) and yuca chips ($9) that are available exclusively at Uchiba.
Another major difference: Where Uchi serves primarily beer, wine and sake, Uchiba has a full bar and new cocktail menu.
Highlights include the Ticket to Tokyo ($14), a mix of Japanese whiskey, peach, ginger and lemon, and the Jungle Bird ($11), featuring dark rum, lychee, Thai basil and lime.
Uchiba is the first of its kind for Hai Hospitality, which manages Uchi locations in Dallas, Austin, Houston and Denver, as well as Uchiko and the forthcoming Asian smokehouse Loro in Austin.
For Dallas diners looking for an extra seat when Uchi's bar downstairs is full, it's a welcome addition to the family.
See more pictures of Uchiba:
Uchiba is open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant begins serving brunch (Sundays only) on Feb. 4.