The restaurant concept on top of Uchi Dallas is getting a reboot. Top Knot will close on January 14 after one final brunch, and reopen as another new thing called Tyson Cole's Uchiba. Although it seems likely that most people will end up just calling it Uchiba.
Uchiba combines "Uchi," which means house in Japanese, and "Ba," the word for bar. The name sets the tone for the extension of the Uchi space downstairs to the bar and food destination upstairs.
Cole says in a release that the change-up is inspired by his recent travels.
"We've noticed how our guests love to meet at the bar at Uchi, have drinks and share a few small dishes," he says. "My recent travels to Japan inspired me to explore some new possibilities with a bar concept that incorporates elements of Uchi yet expands that into cocktail experience."
Alongside Cole is current Uchi chef de cuisine Alex Astranti, who will help realize the Uchiba concept. Astranti took over the kitchen at Top Knot in March 2017, and will lead the culinary direction for Uchiba in addition to his duties as chef de cuisine for Uchi.
"Our guiding vision for our restaurant group Hai is to always be searching, expanding, and thinking about things in new ways to create unforgettable dining for our guests. Uchiba is a realization of our mission and allows us to keep pushing ourselves in that way," Cole says, offering still more words about this refresh.
Top Knot opened in February 2016 as a new concept to the Uchi family with a more casual profile and a menu that featured buns and hand rolls and salads. The dish most commonly mentioned was the fried chicken on a biscuit, which people love to talk about but which doesn't seem to be enough to keep a concept afloat.
The updated space will add a sushi bar and yakitori grill. Familiar menu items from Uchi will appear on the Uchiba menu, alongside new offerings. Full food and cocktail menus will be announced in the coming weeks in advance of opening.
Uchiba will continue Hai's Uncommon Ramen series, as well as Sunday brunch, and adopt a sake social happy hour like the one at Uchi.
Uchi has three locations in Austin; Houston; and Dallas, which opened in 2015. The company also owns Uchiko, featuring "Japanese farmhouse cuisine," in Austin, and will open an Uchi in Denver in 2018.