For those of you who may not know, an Izakaya is a japanese bar or tavern were food is served. All of them offer grilled seasoned meats that are served on skewers; some even have sushi and other items as well. Typically at Izakayas, the drinking is the main focus and the food is secondary. Izakaya food, like most bar food, is salty and spicy, crunchy and savory, and specifically crafted to complement the beer or wine that you are consuming.
It was date night and Fernando and I wanted to check out someplace new near our house for dinner and drinks. We had heard a lot of good things about Umai Latin Izakaya, so we decided to pay them a visit.
Located at a small strip mall in an upscale area of Guaynabo is Umai. It has modern décor paired with a great atmosphere. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The weather was particularly nice that day so Fernando and I decided to sit outside.
As we were seated, our waitress promptly approached our table and gave us suggestions on her favorite menu items. She was very knowledgeable about the food, beverages and the specials being offered. The menu had everything from sushi to noodles. They also offer a “must tries” menu, which features a few of the house favorites.
While we decided on what to order, we started the night with a bottle of Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale for Fernando and a bottle of Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar for me (one of my favorite beers).
As our appetizers, we ordered the Edamame Humus with Fried Wontons and the Seafood Carpaccio. The Edamame Humus particularly intrigued us since it was an original spin on a traditional Japanese dish. It definitely did not disappoint. It was chunky, salty, and delicious! It was just the perfect pairing for our ice-cold beers.
The seafood Carpaccio blew my mind. Beautifully presented and incredibly refreshing, it comes with generous portions of octopus, shrimp, tuna, and salmon. As I have mentioned before, I am very picky about the freshness and quality of my fish, but this was definitely on point! It was decadent!
Fernando was in the mood for noodles, so he ordered the Duck Noodles, which consists of marinated duck in szechuan pepper with sweet plantain, vegetables and crunchy duck “chicharrón” (crispy duck skin). It was amazing. He particularly enjoyed the combination of the Asian and local flavors. Insiders tip: we were told by our waitress that this dish as well as other noodle dishes can be served spicy, you just have to request it in advance.
I decided to go with the Sushi Coca, which is pretty much a sushi pizza. It consists of your choice of salmon, tuna, or crab, fresh parmigiano cheese, tomatoes, Japanese bacon and nori flakes in a crispy rice crust with spicy mayo and sofrito mayo. I decided to order salmon as my protein for the dish. You also have the option of ordering it either regular (personal) or sportman (sharing portion) size. It was scrumptious! A must try indeed when you visit Umai.
For our dessert, we ordered the peanut butter cheesecake, which was the perfect end to a great dinner. YUM!
Although, we did not try the sushi, we could tell from the seafood carpaccio that the fish at Umai is extremely fresh. The sushi comes in conveniently sized 4-piece rolls, which give you a chance to explore various menu items. You can also order the regular 8-piece rolls. In sum, Umai offers great food at reasonable prices. So make sure you drop by and check them out soon!