The lead-up to this post started as a tale of woe about arriving for lunch at a long-time favorite, Bistro 88, and discovering the doors locked and an ominous chain strung across the door. When I looked at the lunch menu for the establishment that replaced it, Jino's Sushi and Bistro, my heart sank a little. One of the four appetizers was krab rangoon, and a sweet and sour dish topped the entreé list. I sent out a tweet in an attempt to discover some back story, and Mike Sutter from Fed Man Walking tweeted back that it was owned by a Suzi's alum and that the chef - Chef Choo - was previously at Afin. My heart sank a little more.
But my screen name isn't Optimista for nothing, so I ventured in with a fellow foodie for lunch last week. Both of us assiduously avoided the Suzi's-esque side of the menu and ordered a sushi combo plate. Mine came with miso soup, salad, four pieces of nigiri and a "Mr. Jino Roll" (shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber topped with spicy tuna, spicy sauce, and tempura flakes)($17).
If you've been to Afin, you'll recognize the unconventional flavors here. This is by no means a traditional sushi joint; whether that's a good thing or not depends on your palate. I personally found the sauces interesting, if not all perfectly complementary, and the nigiri was very generously sliced and fresh. Given that this location is such a convenient spot for me to meet downtowners for lunch, I'll undoubtedly be back, although it'll likely take some persuading for me to venture off the sushi side of the menu.
Jino's Bistro & Sushi
2712 Bee Caves Road
Austin, TX 78746