The long awaited opening of Umami has finally come to pass. Was it worth the wait? Now I have read some amazing reviews of the new restaurant, and also some not so hot experiences had at this brand spanking new establishment. So, I decided to go a couple of times before writing this review. When I first went to dinner at Umami on Grand Opening weekend, I was surprised to find that there was parking behind the restaurant considering it looked absolutely packed on the inside. Walking in I was met with a vibrant upbeat atmosphere, that had a very modern decor matched with elements of a traditional Japanese noodle bar. The artwork on the walls is contemporary concept art. Overall a very relaxing and fun environment.
Now I have eaten at Umami a few times, a couple of dinners and couple of lunches. The pork ramen is delicious, and has been consistent, I have heard people complain about the saltiness of it, and I think that is because in WI we are used to more bland food. But, if you aren't that big on salt all you have to do (as in the case of one of the people I ate there with) is ask for a less salt for your dish and they will be happy to accommodate you. For me though, saying that the ramen there is too salty, would be like going to cold stone creamery and saying there ice cream is too sweet. But, anyway... I very much have enjoyed the dumplings, they have been seared perfectly every time I have dined there. Some have suggested that they come frozen and my response to that is, if you can't taste the difference between fresh and frozen, you have no business writing a review on any dish that is being served. You can indeed taste the freshness of not only the veggies, but also the tenderness of the meat inside the dumplings. My suggestion here is the dumplings seem to take longer than the rest of the food, so I would order them as an entree opposed to just as an appetizer. Speaking of appetizers though, I recommend getting the tune poke with the summer roll. Both phenomenal and compliment each other well.
The staff at Umami are for the most part young, efficient, and charming. I have had 3 different servers so far and they were knowledgeable and accommodating. If food was taking a little too long to come out of the kitchen, we were informed and not left wondering, it was nice to be kept in the loop. The service there was top notch.
The price range for dinner is good, for lunch it is great. It's a new restaurant that is well on it's way to becoming a hot spot in Madison. Sure there are things that need to be ironed out, but on the off chance you had a less than fantastic experience there, I suggest you give it another shot, and then make your assessment.