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Ate at Umami!

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Ate at Umami!

Postby Tsur » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:17 pm

Tried Umami, Madison's ramen bar on Willy Street. I'll go again.

I really want to like this restaurant. For one thing, I love ramen. The decor of the place is fun. It's a little too hip and L.A. It straddles the line between tasteful decor and hip bar scene. It might have been better without the the thumping music.

The owner (manager?) of the place is super friendly - good looking Jap with a nice smile and a cool western shirt. I think his name was Randy. Otherwise, the service was definitely uneven. We had to ask multiple times for things like beer and wine. Our ramens initially came without the additional flavor "bombs" that we ordered. We never did get our salad. But I expect growing pains at new restaurants and Randy's genuine and friendly demeanor more than made up for the service shortcomings.

The food is interesting. Mostly good and sometimes just interesting. The spring roll sounded delicious but turned out to be just busy. The vegi dumplings are very good - perfect texture on the dough and a nice sear on one side. We ordered it with two different sauces (spicey and sweet) but only got one - not certain which one we actually got. The tofu was fantastic. It was just a slab of silken tofu, but it had the perfect mixture of bonito flakes, scallions, sesame seeds, soy sauce and other stuff. It was our favorite part of the meal.

Unfortunately, the vegi ramen itself was simply okay. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I really wanted too. The portion was ample and the noodles were cooked appropriately. I really liked the collard greens and other accoutrements. But the broth was kinda muddy and dull. And, of course, ramen is all about the broth and noodles. Maybe the meatier ramens are better, but I was disappointed with what I got. You get to order additional flavor bombs for a $1 each. When I eventually got my "spicy bomb" it enhanced the flavor but I still felt the broth was lacking.

Nonetheless I'll definitely be back. For one thing, where else am I going to go for ramen? For another, I really want to like this place. The mediocre ramen had enough promise that I'll try it again. And, the deceptively simple slab of tofu was really, really good.

Prices are fair. Two ramens, the tofu, the spring rolls, dumplings, two draft bears, glass of wine and surprisingly good ice cream sandwich came to $75.

I hope you guys try it and report back.

(forgot to mention, they're having a benefit lunch on Wed, 3/16 to help the poor bastards who got flattened by the earthquake, tsunami, and potential meltdown. A good way to try a new restaurant and help out a little)
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Detritus » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:27 pm

"Jap?" "Poor bastards?"

Maybe the service was poor because you're a dumbfuck.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Tsur » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:43 pm

Detritus wrote:"Jap?" "Poor bastards?"

Maybe the service was poor because you're a dumbfuck.


You may perceive me as a dumb -space- fuck, but you are certainly hostile. I can only guess you're being this way because you're offended. Trust me, you're being overly sensitive. If the people of NE Japan aren't poor bastards then I don't know who the hell are. And if they aren't Japs I don't know who the hell are either.

And for the record, my Mother is Japanese (making me half "Jap") if the term offends you then get over it or fuck off.

Regardless, and getting back on topic, try the restaurant.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Detritus » Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:59 pm

Tsur wrote:And for the record, my Mother is Japanese (making me half "Jap") if the term offends you then get over it or fuck off.

How nice. You go call your mother a "Jap" and then come back and tell me how that went over. And, for the record, Randy is Chinese, which you could have found out by asking.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Tsur » Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:21 pm

Detritus wrote:
Tsur wrote:And for the record, my Mother is Japanese (making me half "Jap") if the term offends you then get over it or fuck off.

How nice. You go call your mother a "Jap" and then come back and tell me how that went over. And, for the record, Randy is Chinese, which you could have found out by asking.


I can't believe I'm being drawn into an online argument over the word Jap. I don't know why you're so convinced that an abbreviated form of Japanese is so offensive. If I were trying to be derogatory I'm sure we all know MUCH worse words.

All the Japs I know, and I grew up with a lot of them, wouldn't be offended by the term. That includes my mother. I can't speak universally for all Japanese folk, but it's not much of a racial slur. I'm not certain that it ever was. It's simply a lazy way to write Japanese. Are you offended when people call caucasians "white"?

You really need to get over your misplaced self-righteousness. You've some how convinced yourself that I was trying to insult Randy. Why the hell would I ask him about his race? I was simply being descriptive so people would recognize him - handsome, friendly Japanese guy wearing a cool shirt. Are you really going to vilify me because I thought an Asian running a Japanese restaurant might have been Japanese?

I'm not going to respond to your ridiculous accusations anymore. I was simply trying to give a mildly favorable review to a restaurant that I liked. You being overly PC and offended simply isn't my concern.

Edit:
I googled it because I was curious. According to Wikipedia and Merriam Webster, back in the day, in America, Jap was more offensive than I thought. I had no idea that past clever American caucasians considered it an amalgam of Japanese and ape. But today, in much of Asia, the term isn't at all derogatory and the Japanese themselves (ourselves?) are apathetic about it. So YOU can go ahead and continue to be offended by a decades old slur while we have already gotten over it.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby greeneyedlady » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:07 am

Just...wow. I can't believe I'm reading what I'm reading here, Tsur. You need to choose your words a lot more carefully.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:23 am

At least he didn't call them Nips. But I do find it strange that a person of Japanese ancestry can't tell the difference between someone from Japan and someone from China.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Tsur » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:21 am

greeneyedlady wrote:Just...wow. I can't believe I'm reading what I'm reading here, Tsur. You need to choose your words a lot more carefully.


First of all, it's one word we're talking about here. Secondly, I think it's obvious from the tone of my words that I wasn't trying to offend anyone. I called the guy good looking and friendly. Lastly you need to get over the outrage. Trust me, Japanese folk really don't mind the word and it's in our vernacular.

Henry Vilas wrote:At least he didn't call them Nips. But I do find it strange that a person of Japanese ancestry can't tell the difference between someone from Japan and someone from China.


I would have thought Nips was more derogatory too. But according to the Wiki, Japs is worse. I like to think I'm pretty good with my ability to discern Asians. But I guess you put the wrong Asian in the right setting and I can be fooled. Plus, it can get a little tricky. Many Chinese and Koreans have Japanese blood in them because we occupied their land for so long.

So, anyone else eaten at Umami?
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby greeneyedlady » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:24 am

I think the issue, Tsur, is not that you assumed someone's ethnic heritage incorrectly, but the *act* of making that assumption, and for some, the words you chose to use to describe your assumption. Assuming...well, you know what that does.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Tsur » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:43 am

greeneyedlady wrote:I think the issue, Tsur, is not that you assumed someone's ethnic heritage incorrectly, but the *act* of making that assumption, and for some, the words you chose to use to describe your assumption. Assuming...well, you know what that does.


All right. I'm done with this thread. I've obviously stirred something up and it's clear that nobody is ever going to make a comment about the restaurant itself. For that I sincerely apologize.

Those of you offended by the word Jap are really, really making a big deal over nothing. I'm guessing it's some sort of misplaced white guilt. WE don't think it's derogatory.

And I'm not going to apologize for the *act* of guessing that an Asian running a Japanese restaurant might have been Japanese. When I eat at a German place I often assume the proprietor might be German. If they turned out to be a Pole (or is that a bad word too?) would you be offended because of my assumption? The guy running the Mexican restaurant turns out to be Guatemalan, am I a bigot for thinking he was a Mexican? Am I supposed to casually ask everyone's ethnicity so I can accurately describe them?

Anyway. Try the restaurant. I thought it had promise.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Mean Scenester » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:16 pm

Tsur wrote:All right. I'm done with this thread.

Don't stop there, dumbfuck.

Here's a hint: On an online forum, where the ethnicity of your parents is neither apparent nor verifiable, you're going to get called out for this sort of thing, and rightly so.

p.s. Your timing couldn't be worse, though I suspect you're probably too ignorant to know what's going in the world beyond the end of your nose.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:14 pm

Anyone else eaten there?
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:54 pm

Lee Davenport of Ironworks Cafe has been singing Umami's praises on her Flickr page. If all their pork buns look like this, I don't blame her.

Tsur, I wait with bated breath for your next thread, wherein you sample the fare at Harold's Chicken Shack.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:07 pm

TheBookPolice wrote:Lee Davenport of Ironworks Cafe has been singing Umami's praises on her Flickr page. If all their pork buns look like this, I don't blame her.


I was looking for a pre film fest dinner and I think I found it. That looked great.
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Re: Ate at Umami!

Postby funlump » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:50 am

I've been to Umami three times already. I'm hooked on their pork buns. I've never encountered a pork bun before Umami, and they are now my new favorite food. The first time we went was during their grand opening, and of course, service was shaky, but it's improved each time we've gone back. Their pork dumplings are also amazing. At the grand opening we each had a bowl of ramen, and it was the most boring part of the meal. Good. But I though it needed more flavor. The pork buns, dumplings, sake cocktails and atmosphere will keep us coming back.
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