Sushi Umi had its grand opening in the Wellington West Village during the Easter weekend of 2009. Eager to try a new restaurant, Don and I happened to be one of its first customers. Although the chef did not have all his supplies at the time, we were still impressed with our dinner. Since then, we have had numerous delicious meals and continue to be impressed by the consistent quality and presentation of each dish.
Just last month, Sushi Umi celebrated its one year anniversary. As we had vowed to return to mark this special occasion, we decided to order a similar meal for dinner from one year ago. However, we could not resist trying some appetizers as well.
For our starters, we ordered the yakitori ($3.95) and a plate of four gyozas ($3.95)
The yakitori dish consists of two skewers of grilled chicken (dark meat) and zucchini drizzled in terriyaki sauce. It was sweet, yet savory.
In-house made and freshly deep-fried, these beef dumplings were delicate. A small dipping bowl of rice wine vinegar made a nice accompaniment for the gyoza, providing brightness.
In the Sushi & Sashimi section of the menu, Sushi Umi offers seven choices. For his main, Don selected the Umi combo ($15.95).
The Umi Combo consists of six pieces California rolls (imitation crab and avocado) and six pieces of nigiri. According to the menu, the accompanying nigiri should be tuna, salmon, red snapper (“tai”), shrimp (“ebi”), mackerel (“saba”), and surf clam (“hokki”). Good California rolls in Don’s experience are loosely packed, but just hold together. Its sea weed paper should not spiral into the center of the roll and the avocado should be fresh and ripe. He enjoyed his California rolls, popping them into his mouth, cleansing his palate with the pickled ginger before moving onto the nigiri. For nigiri, Don likes the rice beds to be loosely packed, so they fall apart in the mouth. The fish should be judiciously cut, every piece looking like it was cut with an economy of knife strokes. Don remarked the chef must have had a large number of orders, given some of the uneven cuts of fish, but he nonetheless remarked Sushi Umi serves decent sushi. He has had some really poor sushi recently.
As for me, I had the Salmon Terriyaki bento box ($14.95) for dinner.
At Sushi Umi, all bento boxes are served with miso soup, salad, rice, two gyoza, and two pieces of California rolls. The salad (iceberg lettuce, shredded carrot, sweet tomato, and several slices of English cucumber) was made fresh to order. A squeeze bottle of ginger dressing was also provided for the salad. As for my large piece of salmon, it was perfectly cooked with the centre slightly pink. It was flavourful, moist, and tender. Unlike many sushi places, Sushi Umi serves Japanese short grain rice for bento box orders. Japanese short grain rice is sticky, with a hint of sweetness.
As a surprise, the chef gifted us a special dish of thinly sliced spice seared tuna.
As usual, dinner was a delightful affair at Sushi Umi. The food is always fresh and consistent, making it a favourite among locals here in Hintonburg and Wellington West. Whether you choose to dine in or have take-out, you will not be disappointed. Here’s to another successful year to Sushi Umi!
Total: $43.84 (after taxes, before tip)