Umi Sushi refuge

Umi Sushi Bar & GrillUmi Sushi Bar & Grill provided the perfect post-voting pick-me-up. After trying to do so all week, we finally succeeded in finding an opportunity to vote early, at Fiesta Market number two, at an umpromising time late on Friday afternoon. We were quite far south of the river and the rush-hour was unrelenting.

Around the corner, we found the perfect place to wait for the worst of the tsunami of traffic to subside. Apparently, Umi really is a place where everybody knows your name. As people stepped through the door, many of them were greeted by a staff member with an announcement to the effect that their friends were already waiting at the bar or in the bar-room. We enjoyed the peace of the dining room, but observed that there was much conviviality in the adjoining room, which has a curving bar that encourages conversation among the patrons, as well as several booths where parties of four were enjoying selections from the sushi bar.

At our table, the greatest delight was the plate of gyoza, small and delicious dumplings, delicate inside and out. Another favorite was the order of shrimp tempura, which also included asparagus and sweet potato tempura on the plate. The salmon plate was generous and the fish came to the table piping hot. The salad was primarily of iceberg lettuce (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) with that citrus-y dressing. I consumed all the miso that came to us, since I’m the one who enjoys it. This version contained tasty dark greens.

The prices were reasonable at dinnnertime, and they’re cheaper at lunch. There is a takeout menu. I don’t find a Web presence, but the little menu says that there are daily happy-hour specials, with Kirin Ichiban pints always on tap for $2.00. Umi appears to be open continuously from 11:30 in the morning until closing time every day but Sunday, when the doors open at 4 pm. The address is 5510 South IH-35 (number 400), telephone 383-8681. This is a great place for conversation, with sophisticated lighting, and the techno music on the sound system does not interfere. I can understand why there seem to be so many regulars.

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