Umami - Ramen

2014 list of restaurants that have captured our love and admiration
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mrln242
Posts: 40
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Tempe

5 years ago

Lets get this first thing out of the way. They went through some growing pains in the first couple of weeks they were open. I get that, I agree they went through growing pains, new kitchen, new equipment, new space. I get that. I understand those of you that went that first week or so were not really into it. I went weeks later and was completely enamored from day one. It was great when I went so lets break it down.

1. Ramen is going to be difficult, especially for those of us who have had some sick ramen in other countries.

2. This isn't your tsukemen ramen or that udon that you love from who knows what area in Japan, or that cold bowl of noodles you had at that one market place that one morning in Tokyo after a long night of drinking with business men and going to a Peelander-Z show.

3. For all intents and purpose republic is a complete joke and garbage. Ill throw the stone because frankly Ive made ramen for a friend here on the board and Im sure he'd rather come to my house over republic any day of the week. That friends is better than mine though.

4. While Josh does a great job, sometimes its hit, and when it is its super hit. Sometimes its miss, and when it is, its super miss. Overall though the last couple bowls Ive had at Posh have been great. So are they better or worse than Umami???

5. On par. Thats the kicker they are on par. When Umami is great, and Ive been three times this week and thinking about going tomorrow, its a beautiful bowl of ramen. This week the ramen and Scott will attest to this was great, this week. Perfect broth, great noodles, and the accompaniment is spot on.

6. The place itself has a great vibe, super relaxed still nice. Color scheme is great, seating is comfy. Waiter is nice and attentive but not to over the top. There is eye candy for both males and females. It is quiet, but not overly so. Its a great place to have a drink.

7. Drinks are good. They don't have a mixologist, and I really do not like mixology to be honest, I think just using the term is something of a pretentious action and I dislike pretentiousness in all forms and fashions. Mostly a sociological thing and well I don't like the elite or well off and mixology goes along with both of those adjectives. In any case they do a good job of trying out some fun stuff, nothing that blows you away but still solid.

8. Expense. Come on I love ramen I really do but a bowl here is $6.50 how can you beat that? Great bowl of ramen for $6.50 give me a break. Doesn't the #1 at McDo cost $6.50 now? I don't know, who knows.

9. The noodles, quite frankly and I am trying to be a little offensive here, if you don't like the noodles here, your mouth is broken. Thats the gist, if you don't like the noodles at Umami better than all other ramen noodles you have in the valley, I can't, above anything else trust your judgement on food. I just can't. The noodles are soft, dense, chewy, have give and bite. They are yellow, warm and delicious. They accompany the bowls of broth really well, which is important.

10. Bottom line, I get it, its tucked behind the thing and its off Mill, and you'd rather go to scottsdale for lunch or some totally off the beaten path place because secretly you want to find that diamond and or be seen and thats more important than actually eating good food. I get that, but this place overall for a straight up ramen place deserves the nod. Posh is a great restaurant with good ramen. Umami is a good restaurant with great ramen.

We should seriously consider voting this place FNA. Its deserves it, not because its all we got, but because its an honest bowl of ramen you can have all that time that will satisfy that craving until you can get back to that little market, with that little business man, and eat your little bowl of Udon after a heavy night of drinking and watching Polysics!

Main discussion thread:
Umami

Umami
www.facebook.com/UmamiTempe
21 E. 6th Street
Tempe, AZ 85281
480-625-4565
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Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 7 years ago
Contact:

5 years ago

Speaking only for myself, you don't need to put on the hard sell :-)

If you'd asked me a month or two after they opened, I'd have said no way. But they've done a nice job of developing their broths, ironing out the kinks, and turning themselves into a place to pick up a pretty darn good bowl of ramen. I'm not quite as jazzed about it as you are, but they've really come along nicely, the guys are enthusiastic and friendly, and they've clearly piqued the interest of a bunch of folks here on the board. I support this nomination.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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AZLobo
Posts: 260
Joined: 7 years ago

5 years ago

I've only been here once, but I liked it a lot, and I admire the concept immensely. I follow the logic of the nomination (though, would it kill the nominator to use an apostrophe?), and agree with it. Yes for FNA.
Last edited by AZLobo 5 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
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BarbaraToombs
Posts: 1471
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Chandler/Tempe, Arizona

5 years ago

Geez, mrln243, take a breath! ;)

Wholeheartedly agree with this one. Love their space, their food, their vision.

I like going here for lunch and sitting at the bar, just grabbing a quick, delicious bowl.
M_L
Posts: 979
Joined: 7 years ago

5 years ago

This place was on my short list to nominate so I am glad you did or I probably would have.
I was skeptical of going here from what I had read, but when I finally did I was blown away.
I think this place is great, and I think the owners have a great attitude and seem to be solid people that just want to make good food.

I am super thrilled this got nominated, I am totally behind it.
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Mike Z
Posts: 494
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Central Tempe

5 years ago

The one thing that would hold me back from a nom would be pure pricepoint. If you were going solely by value, and you put Umami up against the killer $5.50 bowl at Fujiya Market, or awesome bowls of soups at Khai Hoan, Hue Gourmet, Pho Dalat, Pho Van, etc, then Umami would lose out. Starting at $8 bucks, and escalating from there with add ons, I've never had a bowl at Umami less than about $10-$12.

Was it a good bowl though? Yeah. Service has always been as friendly and involved as I've wanted it to be. It's a nice space. And one of the things that has really impressed me, from talking with the staff and from what I've read, is that they seem to be striving to improve something that is ALREADY really good.

If the build-a-bowl started at $6 they'd be a dead solid lock imo. At $8 . . . wiggle room for argument
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Lunchbox
Posts: 1073
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Gilbert
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5 years ago

I agree. It's getting better. Need to have another bowl soon to see if what's been said holds up... Either way it's a win-win... :D
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
mrln242
Posts: 40
Joined: 6 years ago
Location: Tempe

5 years ago

@Mike I don't know man, Ive always just gotten a bowl and its $6.50.
@Zach Lets go for lunch whenever. Im at ASU and Im there at least once a week.

@PHXFN They deserve this I think. In Tempe, especially in campus town, it important to recognize our gems. This is definitely one.
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ScottofStrand
Posts: 624
Joined: 7 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

5 years ago

Umami has been serving killer Ramen lately. But even more than the food, I really dig the philosophy and ambitions of the place. The chef really knows his stuff and respects traditions, but also knows how to fuse the modern in with the old. I'm definitely a +1 to Umami, and really excited to see what the next year holds for them.
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Skillet Doux
Posts: 3437
Joined: 7 years ago
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5 years ago

Umami has been named to the 2014 Food Nerd Approved list.
Dominic Armato
Dining Critic
Arizona Republic | azcentral.com
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