sushi is one of my favorite foods and i enjoy a variety of types and levels. kind of like my taste in movies.
sometimes i like pure, minimalist sushi- reminiscent of a great film- where superior quality means everything and subtlety is sublime.
yet i also enjoy those quirky rolls- indie films- that test the senses with unusual flavor and ingredient combinations that delight you when they work.
and honestly, sometimes even grocery store sushi, much like a rom-com, while lacking in substance can do the trick.
living in nyc spoiled me. so many options. not enough time. i was able to satiate my sushi cravings with the press of the dial- i admit to almost weekly deliveries from sumo sushi (yes, one play boy roll and spicy tuna tartar please!). often meeting up with friends at kanoyama or cherin sushi depending on the weekly budget. . and for special occasions- sushi of gari where i experienced my first sushi-gasm.
having a few months of philly under my belt, i was starting to get the feeling that finding a good sushi joint might be tough. our first attempt was hikari in northern liberties, a small restaurant tucked away on north american street. service- fine. atmosphere- fine. prices-fine. food- m'eh. all in all, not a bad experience but not worth repeating. . . a shame- would have loved to have had a winner in walking distance.
on a whim, the boy and i decided to try umai umai in fairmount. we got to the neighborhood, which feels incredibly similar to park slope, around 9:40 and i'm feeling slightly anxious because they close at 10:30. so we do a lap to find parking, and then another, and then another. luckily we were able to squeeze into a mostly legitimate spot around 10pm, directly in front of the restaurant. we get seated promptly and start looking over the menu.
we order oyster shooters, the sashimi platter, the spartan, eternal sunshine and the poseidon roll. the oyster shooters were divine- kumamoto oysters with sea urchin and quail egg in a citrus, cilantro dressing. the sashimi was a little too cold, but respectably fresh. the winners were the "designer" rolls, especially the eternal sunshine which i really didn't think would work but was delicious- panko crusted flounder with avocado, salmon, cucumber, apricot miso, blueberry balsamic, and pine nuts. our waitress was lovely and attentive and the scene was a lively thanks to the byob policy.
i left dinner with a full belly and cautiously optimistic about discovering more worthwhile sushi restaurants in phily. . . next up fat salmon, and maybe for a special occasion morimoto. . .