So having a few beers at my local watering hole, I notice some guys with shirts that read “umami”. I immediately recognized the word from school. As far as tastes go, there’s salt, sweet, bitter, and sour. Recently, the Asian cuisine has discovered what they call “umami” which translates to “delicious”. It’s a meaty savory flavor that I was curious about until I tasted exactly what they meant.
I walk in to a beautiful open style kitchen, an unusual silence. There’s no yelling or clanging just knives hitting a board and humble talk of orders. Communication was minimal but the flow was like clockwork.
I sit down and order a delicious plum wine. The sous chef I had spoke to recognized me and recommended the chefs special. A salmon cerviche with wonton chips. The presentation was breathtaking. The flavor? Umami.
Even as a small dish it was very meaty and filling, so I moved on to dessert. I ordered the cheesecake tempura with green tea ice cream. The crispy texture outside and the creamy cheesecake oozed through. The carmelization of the sugars in the cheesecake was perfect. The green tea ice cream was a refreshing counter to the rich flavor of the cheesecake. Pure heaven.
I learned a lot about what umami means. Their knife skills were impeccable. Every scallion was exactly the same as the next. this savory yet refreshing meal was a palate revolution. My taste buds are still planning their mutiny against anything less.
As a culinary student I am always looking to expand my palate and this was more than I bargained for.