Say "Irasshaimase!" to Kome Sushi

Kome is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and is located at 4917 Airport Blvd. 

Photo Credit: Hannah Vickers

Diners are greeted with the Japanese salutation of “Irasshaimase!” by the entire staff as they walk into Kome, a restaurant offering the newest Japanese, home-style cuisine close to UT.

Kome’s lunch and dinner menus are non-traditional Japanese that follow personal family recipes while also incorporating elements from the chef’s background —Austin and New Orleans. Adding this personal touch allows Kome to offer a form of Japanese cuisine that cannot be found anywhere else in Austin.

Featured in Bon Appetit’s “The Best New Sushi Restaurants in America” as well as locally in The Austin Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman, Kome has repeatedly stood out among other restaurants in the Airport Boulevard area. With most local Japanese restaurants being located outside of Central Austin, Kome offers the opportunity for residents of East Austin and UT to try family style Japanese without having to travel too far in terms of distance and price.

Owners Takehiro Asazu and his wife Kayo opened Kome in 2011. The couple also has run the food trailer Sushi-A-Go-Go since 2009.

 

 Owner Take Asazu cuts meat in preparation to make a Sashimi Lunch. [PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Vickers]

Co-owner Kayo Asazu recommends first-timers try out chicken Katsu Teishoku for lunch and Tonpei-yaki for dinner. The chicken Katsu uses a juicy portion of meat that most diners find appealing, while the Tonpei-yaki is the Japanese version of a pork omelet, which is a specialty passed down by Kayo’s mother.

The Teishoku lunches are combination meals that include a Japanese salad, rice and soup as well as an entree for $10 or less. The affordability of dishes is another reason for the restaurant’s popularity.

“We are trying to be creative in minimizing our waste and in rotating our ingredients effectively,” Kayo Asazu said when asked how Kome manages to keep prices low relative to competitors. “This means getting high-quality products from less-expensive inputs on everything from our chopsticks to the actual ingredients.” 

If students are visiting in small groups, lunchtime is a better option financially. For large groups, dinner is preferable since items are more sharable, staying true to Kome’s family style approach. 

        

The Sashimi lunch includes tuna, salmon, striped bass, hamachi, amaebi, saba, scallop, tobiko and fresh wasabi with rice. [PHOTO CREDIT: Hannah Vickers]

Some sure-shot suggestions for uncertain diners include Gyoza, Japanese-style pork dumplings, or the Tempura, which includes both vegetables and shrimp cooked in a special batter. For those who are more adventurous, the Takoyaki, octopus dumplings, offers the chance to taste Japanese street food in a more formal setting.

“Having grown up in Austin, after experiencing several Japanese restaurants, Kome has been the most authentic so far,” said history junior Leanne Chia. “I went with a friend, ordered several entrees, sushi, dessert and paid under $25. I have yet to find another Japanese place in Austin that can beat that.”

As you walk out, the chefs will usually stop what they are doing to yell, “Arigato!” which means ‘thank you’ in Japanese. Feel free to reply; regardless of pronunciation, you will be received just as kindly as when you entered.