ADDRESS: 3042 West New Haven Avenue, West Melbourne, FL 32904
Ever since moving down to Florida back in December, I had been on the hunt to find some good sushi. That search initially brought me to Seito Sushi up in Orlando, where it was unfortunately a bit of a disappointment. After that, I decided to turn my search closer to home and stick within the Melbourne area to see what I could find. Umami Restaurant and Sushi Bar popped up on the radar, with some relatively good reviews and nice looking pictures of sushi rolls (some of which were identical to the ones from my visit to Seito). My friend Shyam said he wanted to take a break from eating pizza for 4 consecutive days, so we headed over to give Umami a shot.
Located inside the Metro West shopping plaza, Umami is a few storefronts down from the Subway (I actually drove right by it the first time searching the plaza for the place). The dining area is relatively smaller, probably able to accommodate 25 – 30 people total. There’s the option to either sit at tables or at the sushi bar, located all the way at the back of the restaurant. The feel of the dining area still stayed relatively on the casual side, although the lighting was dimmed down a little bit and added a slightly intimate vibe to the atmosphere. Darkened front windows helped to filter out any bright lights from the exterior as well, preserving that atmosphere throughout the restaurant. For a Saturday evening, the crowd was pretty light, with only a handful of tables occupied when we got there. The hostess led us over to a table and gave us the menus, where we began to ponder over the sushi roll selection.
Like I mentioned above, I was certainly surprised to find a couple of identical sushi rolls at Umami that I had seen up at Seito Sushi in Orlando: the Distinguished Gentleman and Corona were two that jumped out on the list. I’m not sure if those rolls are a regional specialty, since I hadn’t heard of either until coming out to this area. Shyam and I wanted to give several different rolls a try, so we each ordered two apiece. I went with the Distinguished Gentleman and Boba Fett, while he went with the Bang Dang and Corona.
It probably helped that there was a light number of people in the restaurant eating at the time, because the sushi chefs were pretty efficient about getting our food out to us fast. Shyam had gotten an order of edamame to help tide over his hunger, and it was just as we were finishing off the last few pieces when both plates of sushi came. Shyam’s plate had a more elegant look, with the Corona Roll arranged diagonally across the whole plate and the Bang Dang Roll split up on each side. On my plate, the Boba Fett Roll was the more interesting plating arrangement of the two: all pieces were placed in a circular pattern, with a large mound of crab salad dropped right on top and garnished with some scallions.
The Distinguished Gentleman Roll was one I had tried at Seito Sushi and, I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really that impressed. It was my hope that Umami could redeem my impression of the roll, and I think that it was successful in that regard. In almost a mini-interpretation of a “surf-and-turf,” the Distinguished Gentleman features a combination of Maine lobster and seared rare beef, complimented by avocado, masago, and scallions, finished with jalapeño slices, truffle salt, and wasabi aioli on top. The flavors of the jalapeño and wasabi combined well to contrast with some of the more subtle flavors from the other ingredients. I do think, however, that the wasabi aioli might have been too overpowering that it drowned out the more subtle flavor of the lobster.
As for the other roll that I ordered, the Boba Fett, I think that I preferred that one over the Distinguished Gentleman. At the base, it was a California Roll wrapped in avocado, topped with crab salad, baked scallop chunks, masago, and finished with some eel sauce and scallions. What I liked about it though, was that the spicy and savory flavors of the crab salad accentuated the California Roll (avocado and crab stick) really well, with the eel sauce adding some sharper contrast from the other flavors. The sushi chefs were pretty generous with the crab salad when they were plating the roll, which definitely helped me to load it up when I was constructing each bite.
In the search for quality sushi in the Melbourne area, I was able to find a winner in Umami Restaurant and Sushi Bar. With a wide selection of signature rolls, eclectic flavor combinations, and reasonable prices, Umami checked all the boxes for what I was looking for when I set out on my sushi restaurant quest. Even though the restaurant might be tucked away in a sea of other storefronts in the shopping plaza, be sure not to miss it. I know I’m already looking forward to the next opportunity to stop by and try some more sushi rolls.
Let’s now take a look at the Umami Restaurant & Sushi Bar Dish Spotlight. Asterisks (*) below mark my recommended dishes.
** The Distinguished Gentleman — pictured left **
Maine lobster and avocado on the inside, layered with seared rare beef and jalapeño slices on top, finished with masago, truffle salt, and wasabi aioli
** The Boba Fett — pictured right **
California Roll wrapped with avocado and topped with crab salad, baked scallops, masago, and eel sauce
The Corona — pictured middle
Grilled shrimp, tempura asparagus, and cucumber inside, wrapped with avocado and topped with blue crab, pico de gallo, and cilantro
** The Trinity — pictured middle **
Salmon, tuna, and yellowtail on the inside, topped with avocado and sliced lemon, garnished with puffed rice cracker, cilantro, and yuzu tobiko
And finally, here are my rankings for Umami Restaurant & Sushi Bar:
Food: 5 / 5
Diversity in flavors is key here, as there are quite a few signature rolls to choose from. Each roll I tried brought a different flavor combination to the table, while still maintaining a fresh taste from all the ingredients.
Atmosphere: 4.25 / 5
Our waitress was pleasant and checked back with us frequently during the course of the meal. The sushi chefs didn’t keep us waiting too long either, with all four rolls arriving expeditiously.
Service: 4.25 / 5
With the smaller seating capacity and dimmed lighting, the dining area does seem to give off a semi-intimate feel. Black dining furniture tie in well with the light-colored walls and decorations.
Price: 4.5 / 5
I thought the price points for the various rolls was pretty reasonable, especially given some of the more premium ingredients used. For the quality of the rolls that I got, I’d certainly pay those prices again.