Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is one of a kind. They have won many awards, including Best New Restaurant from Austin Chronicle and Austin Eater. Bon Appetit named it #8 in the country for 2017 and they were nominated for a James Beard Award.  I’ll leave the food rankings up to the food critics, but I will say, the food was amazing and so was the interior design. Tucked away on a small side street in East Austin, its unassuming exterior hides a big treasure.

Their philosophy on food is “ramen meets brisket” and the interior design of the restaurant has the same approach. They seamlessly combine staples of Texas dives such as license plates, Lone Star beer signs and mounted deer heads with Japanese artwork, paper lanterns and advertisements for Japanese products. No space is left unfilled, and I was almost as focused on the walls as I was on the food. The bamboo ceilings and wooden interior walls give it such a cozy feel. The bar is lined with maneki neko, or lucky cats, and on top of the beer taps rests a scary looking sword. I’m not sure if it’s a tool or a weapon, but it’s cool either way. A window filled with Asian looking bowls sits under a sign for cold beer (said in a Texas accent).

One of my favorite elements were the bathrooms. When you step in, light boxes filled with action figures light up and flash, delivering stormy sound effects. It scared me at first as the lightning flashed and the thunder rolled, but it was awesome, like stepping into an anime movie. The patio is lovely as well, lined with bamboo and booths are topped with cool lanterns. It’s the perfect setting for a large party.

Everything we ate was fantastic; scallops, broccoli cheese tofu, brisket, hot pockets, spicy pork ribs, blistered shishitos and the fish collar. All of it, so delicious. I won’t mention how many grapefruit sours I had, but they were as good as the food. My husband tried the puff puff pass, a drink for two, served in a glass that looks like a puffer fish. Perfectly Instagramable.

Between the delicious food, the amazing design and yummy cocktails, this is going on my Top 10 list as well. I can’t wait to go back.


Geneva Might, Upstaged Home Staging + Interiors offers vacant and occupied staging services, redesign and holiday event planning to Austin, TX.  To book a consultation, visit www.upstagedaustin.com, or call 512.541.0698