My first visit to Umi was at some point after I graduated law school. It was not my first experience eating sushi, by a long shot. I generally like sushi, but would not consider myself a sushi snob. Then I visited Umi. It ruined me to all other sushi.
Umi’s offerings are so fresh, so melt-in-your mouth delicious that after eating Mr. Shu’s wonderous creations, sushi from any run of the mill sushi joint will taste grainy and sad.
It is a very small establishment. Reservations are a must. There is first-come seating at the sushi bar, but it is a small bar and only seats a couple of people. It is worth calling ahead to secure a table. If you reserve through OpenTable, it does not give you the option to select regular chairs vs. the tatami tables. When I learned we were seated at a tatami table (and there were no regular tables available to switch), I almost cancelled the reservation. However, there is a big open space underneath the tatami table, so you are not seated cross-legged, but rather seated just like you would in a regular chair, with your feet below in the open space. It’s hard to get into and out of, but while you are sitting there, it is just fine.
Oh the salmon mushroom sashimi. So velvety and savory. There just isn’t any substitute for the quality and care Mr. Shu devotes to these dishes.
Umi’s prices, not surprisingly, run on the “very special event” end of the spectrum for us. This is why I was never able to go as a student, because I did not have disposable income to eat. Of course, we cannot now visit nearly as much as I would absolutely love, either.
In this last visit, I ordered lots of sushi rolls. This really was a disservice to Umi’s brilliant menu, and the quality of the fish does get lost in all that rice. The next time I visit, I will absolutely order the Omekase (chef’s tasting). Our dining companion, Anthony, did order the Black Cod with Miso (which is part of the omekase). I failed to snap a pic, but it was so buttery and amazing. It just melts in your mouth. I do like Big Burrito Restaurant Group, but Umi is a special shining star in the bunch.