As you may know, I like to check out the new kids on the dining block. Umami (on Webster just off Union in the former Yoshida-Ya space) is the latest from the folks who brought us Mamacita on Chestnut.
Where did the name come from? Once upon a time, it was believed that the human tongue perceived all tastes as salty, sweet, sour, bitter or some combination of these. Since then, what is referred to as "umami" is now considered the fifth taste. The Japanese word largely defies English translation, but if you're interested, read this: Umami on World Wide Words.
So with a name like Umami, expectations were high, but we were not disappointed. We had the following dishes, all delicious:
-- Kanpachi Carpaccio (say that 10 times fast)
-- King Crab & Avocado Roll (with unagi for umami and macadamia for crunch)
-- Vietnamese Pho Ga Soup (I love spicy, and this soup was just right)
-- Wok-tossed Garlic Noodles with 5-spice chicken
-- Meyer Ranch "Shaking Beef" filet
They also have an extensive tea list and we enjoyed the Dragonwell.
The speed of the service and the temperature in the restaurant should both be much higher, and they're not on OpenTable yet, but hopefully they'll work those kinks out. In the meantime, don your parka and head over before you can no longer get a reservation at all. It was quite busy on Thursday night and it's a holiday week.
2909 Webster Street
San Francisco, CA 94123