How could I miss a place like Umami Shoppu located few blocks from Union Square? Cheap and good food is always something I appreciate: you do not need to pay big bucks to eat well and this is another good example of that. I know: I usually finish my blog post with what I think about a place and starts rarely with my opinion. But sometimes, I just feel like it!
It is not a big place, but it can accommodate a nice number of customers. In the back is the sushi bar, where you can observe the Chef preparing sushi and rolls.
We went few times and here are some of the dishes we tried:
Umami pork buns:
There are two of them and I wished they were four! They were heavenly good: the delicious pork was smothered in hoisin sauce, giving some nice sweetness, while the cucumber added some crispiness.
We also tried the Roti pancake:
I love that dish: yes it can be greasy, but it is so good in that curry sauce, that is more Indian / Thai - adopted - than Japanese.
I also tried the fried squid, served with a chili sauce:
It was not greasy, crunchy and the squid was not rubbery. I loved the mix between the saltiness of the fried squid and the sweetness of the chili sauce that was not spicy at all.
Another dish I tried was the yakitory, those Japanese skewers that I discovered at Bambootori.
I decided to try three of them: chicken, beef and pork belly. All of them were fantastic: delicious, with a nice char taste, they were tender and smothered in a sauce made with hoisin, molasses, mirin (sake rice), sake and sesame.
Then, we tried the ramen! They propose four soup bases:
- Tonkotsu (pork bone)
- Miso (soy bean paste)
- Shoyu (soy sauce)
- curry (curry pork bone)
All ramen are made with bamboo shoot, bean sprout, scallions, flavored egg and nori (seaweed).
So I tried their Chasiu ramen (sliced pork):
First of all, they are generous with the amount of pork and, for $9.50, it is a very good deal! The broth, pork bone based (Tonkotsu) was delicious, milky and not salty, with a subtle taste, letting the different components in the bowl shine.
The next two ramen we tried are interesting because they are unusual! The first one was the fried chicken ramen with soy sauce soup base (Shoyu).
They bring you the soup on one side and the chicken in a separate dish.
You can then either eat them separately or together, as I did, dipping the crispy pieces of chicken in the broth where lettuce was added. It was surprisingly good, except maybe that there was a lot of garlic.
The other unique ramen was the wonton ramen with shoyu soup base (soy sauce):
This was interesting because wonton are Chinese and not Japanese! In fact, we met with one of the owners who is Chinese and he is the one who got this fantastic idea! Again, they were very generous with the number of wonton!
And trust me: these wonton were very good! Needless to say that Jodi ordered this dish each time we went!!! Concerning the soup, it was delicious: milky and not salty although with soy sauce.
This is definitely a place I will keep in my address book: the food is very good, not expensive and the service courteous and efficient.
Enjoy (I did)!
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!