Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Uni

The wild-caught uni at The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

Uni, or sea urchin, has typically been a staple on fine sushi menus, but it is fast becoming ubiquitous at restaurants serving all types of cuisines. Its rise in popularity, however, doesn’t mean it is beloved by all. In fact, uni can be downright divisive. Go ahead and ask your friends if they like uni. You’ll likely hear one of the following responses: “Love it!” or “Ugh!” or “Only if it’s fresh.” or “What *is* it?” That sums up much of what we heard when we asked the OpenTable Facebook community their opinions on uni. There are different grades of uni and a sole experience with a lesser grade could make you swear off the stuff forever; however, fresh (as in just-harvested from the sea urchin) uni is highly regarded by chefs and foodies alike and could make even the most cautious of diners into converts. Find out what your fellow OpenTable diners are saying about this rumored aphrodisiac in recent restaurant reviews.

* 15 East Restaurant, New York, New York: “The second course was the grilled gindara (koji sake-marinated black cod in uni sauce),  which was amazing!”

Arami, Chicago, Illinois: ” Don’t miss the uni shooters.”

Bestia, Los Angeles, California: “Outstanding meal. Diver scallops, veal tartare, calamari salad, and uni pasta were all unbelievably delicious. Making another reservation right now.”

* Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hawaii: “Unbelievably food and wine pairings; appetizer was one of the best ever (basmati rice, raw ahi topped with uni sauce, and uni).”

JoLe, Calistoga, California: “Each dish had the right amount of flare and sauces to offset, complement, and highlight the flavor of the main ingredient. We chose the Kampachi with uni and olive tapenade, snapper with chilled mussels, the sweetbreads, and some veggies to share. All terrific.”

Kata Robata, Houston, Texas: “I would definitely come back for the live uni, ramen, and pork belly bun.”

Majolica, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania: “The dishes are just as delicious as they are beautiful. A sampling of some of the dishes we had — tuna carpaccio with horseradish cream, tobiko and nasturtium leaves, green pea soup with house made sour cream, rosemary and crispy proscuitto, papperdelle with lump crab meat and uni butter, farm fresh egg with truffle butter, maitake mushroom and asparagus shavings, halibut with Israeli couscous, olive and tomato salad and pesto, and the finale, goat cheese sorbet with poached apricot and berries.”

Manzanilla, New York, New York: “I tried and recommend the squid ink croquettes, tuna tartare with uni cream, black rice, seared pork, oxtail burger, and fried Brussels sprouts. However, I am sure anything on the menu is worth having!”

Local Mission Eatery, San Francisco, California: “Food was awesome. Uni with homemade pasta. Pork belly to die for.”

Mitsunobu, Menlo Park, California: “Delicious! Sashimi was outstanding. Uni was yummy.”

Paiche, Marina Del Ray, California: “Standout dishes included the wagyu beef, the paiche, uni shrimp toast, cau cau de choritos, and the haricot vert (Yes, that was worth mentioning.).”

Pidgin, Vancouver, British Columbia: “We were five, and we unanimously voted Pidgin to be at the top of our list. We are all going back ASAP! The humpback shrimp, foie gras, pork belly, uni, scallops, dan dan noodles — and the list goes on and on.”

Provisions, Houston, Texas: “A very creative menu. The guanciale/uni/roasted garlic/arugula pizza was a knock out.”

PUBLIC, New York, New York: “The roasted Chatham cod with manila clams, crispy potato, sesame wakame salad and smoked uni cream entree was sublime. There is some very creative and wonderful cooking going on here.”

Skool, San Francisco, California: “Uni flan starter is a standout dish, and I order it every time.”

Sons & Daughters, San Francisco, California: ” I’ve had trouble with uni in the past, and now it’s all I’ve been able to think about.”

Soto, New York, New York: “We love uni, so when I read about Soto in Zagat I booked a reservation. Specific dishes that stood out were the uni cocktail, the uni tempura, and the karei karaage. Soto respected the delicate nature of uni yet also beautifully enhanced and embellished its taste. Worth every penny.”

* Tongue & Cheek, Miami Beach, Florida: “Tongue & Cheek has serious food, but doesn’t take themselves too seriously; really friendly and attentive service, great lighting and decor. They have a cauliflower panna cotta with uni and caviar on the same menu alongside fish and chips in a red basket that you’d find at the beach. FUN!”

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