Fresh Fish and Creative Cocktails at TenTen
Downtown Austin restaurant offers chic surroundings and a well-curated menu
A stylish yet relaxed hideaway that brings serene vibes and high-quality nigiri, sashimi, and maki to the heart of Downtown Austin, TenTen proves an ideal hangout for sushi enthusiasts who appreciate artisanal cocktails and killer happy hour deals.
Stepping away from the hubbub of West 6th Street and into TenTen’s industrial-chic dining room feels like an immediate respite; between the polished wood tabletops, the black marble bar, the amibent lighting, the comfortable leather banquettes, and the warm and accommodating staff, TenTen communicates a clear message of “come in, leave your office stresses behind, and have a wonderful evening.”
TenTen’s menu focuses on shareable plates, making it a smart move for both post-work gatherings and intimate dates. Arriving on a weekday between 4:30pm and 6pm gives you the opportunity to take advantage of TenTen’s generous happy hour deal, which includes half-price cocktails (which normally range from $17-20), beer, wine, sake, and straight pours of house spirits, along with a special menu of under–$10 snacks like hand rolls, gyoza, and tuna tacos. We enjoyed the gyoza in particular, which feature a savory and well-seasoned pork interior tucked into a tender yet toothsome dough wrapper. The dipping sauce that accompanies these dumplings consists of an soy sauce base and subtle hints of sweetness and spice.
TenTen’s menu of signature cocktails draws heavy inspiration from Asian flavors and ingredients, resulting in flavorful libations that match up well to the restaurant’s dishes. Lychee liqueur, muskmelon, and chai spices all make appearances on the cocktail list, as does zesty Sichuan peppercorn, which blends with bourbon, ginger, and lemon juice to create the invigorating Suko Spice. Other thematic beverages include an impressive assortment of sakes, a few select Japanese beers, and an array of Japanese whiskies.
Sushi and sashimi dominate the TenTen dinner menu, with sections devoted to maki (sliced rolls wrapped with nori) and nigiri & sashimi (slices of raw fish presented solo or on top of small balls of rice), along with a section for crudos and tartares. The maki section offers particularly strong value for your dollar, as each roll contains a hearty portion of quality seafood and vegetables. Speaking of vegetables, TenTen warmly welcomes vegetarian and vegan diners by offering a fully plant-based version of their dinner menu, which features highlights like miso eggplant nigiri with sesame, roasted cauliflower with eggplant puree and preserved wild mushrooms, and tofu maki with avocado and cucumber.
The nigiri and sashimi menu includes a wide range of fish, seafood, and meat options ranging from hamachi to scallop to uni to toro and even to A5 Wagyu beef. Guests can either order their protein of choice as a single piece of nigiri or as a set of sashimi, and each bite packs a massive quantity of flavor. We were impressed by the delicate balance of the Japanese sea bass (suzuki) nigiri–the suzuki’s naturally mild and sweet flavor made an excellent canvas for bold garnishes like pickled and fermented plum and zingy ponzu, and because TenTen used restraint with said garnishes, the flavor of the fish still managed to shine through.
We didn’t necessarily expect to see top-tier cuts of beef on a sushi restaurant’s menu, but TenTen takes pride in its A5 Wagyu offerings, and once we sampled the A5 Wagyu nigiri, we understood why. The gently-seared beef boasted rich beefy flavor with plenty of umami and a tender, almost buttery texture. TenTen accented the nigiri with sweet soy sauce and scallion, which boosted the Wagyu flavors without obscuring the subtleties.
For chic surroundings and a well-curated menu that will please seafood lovers, Japanese restaurant enthusiasts, cocktail fiends, and plant-based diners alike, don’t miss TenTen the next time you’re downtown.