Whenever construction signs go up and excavators come out, Fort Wayne starts to murmur about what's coming. Last year, the corner of Jefferson Boulevard and Getz Road was bustling with activity, and we quickly discovered that a Southern Indiana-based sushi and seafood restaurant was coming.
Umi opened earlier this year, and so far it has been met with rave reviews. While our city is blessed with ample sushi choices, the newcomer offers some of the most innovative menu items I have seen at a sushi restaurant outside of Chicago and New York City. Of course, the restaurant serves more than sushi, too, with a nice selection of rice and noodle dishes, as well as seafood, chicken and beef entrees.
The brand new building is absolutely beautiful inside, with contemporary décor and local art adorning the walls. There are private booths with sliding doors for intimate gatherings, and while we didn't get one of those on our visit, we enjoyed our cozy booth in the dining room which had plenty of room for our party of four and the massive amount of food and drinks we ordered. We liked the interactive tablet at the table that featured pictures of all the bar and dinner menu items. It definitely made ordering a little bit easier.
If, like me, you aren't sure what to order, I highly recommend the UMI Flight ($55), featuring four of the most popular rolls:
The #1 Roll ($12) - A shrimp tempura roll topped with thinly sliced avocado and finished with sweet unagi sauce and creamy jalapeno mayo. This roll is delicious in its simplicity. I found I used it as a nice palette cleanser between some of the more intense rolls we ordered. Oddly enough, all at the table agreed that the taste reminded us of a McChicken, as preposterous as that sounds.
Baked Scallop Sushi Roll ($17) - An asparagus and avocado roll topped with scallops and imitation crab baked in a spicy mayo. The flavors in this roll were delectable, but I was a bit taken aback by the presentation. The roll was buried under a heaping pile of scallops and imitation crab, making it nearly impossible to find the individual pieces. Since we were sharing this dish, it made eating slightly awkward. Once we did uncover the actual sushi roll, we were very satisfied with the fresh crunch of the asparagus, paired with the smooth texture of the avocado. The lingering spicy mayo complemented the dish well. The scallop and imitation crab mixture was delicious as well and presented a slightly sweet aftertaste. We just wish it hadn't drowned out the roll.
The Sun Roll ($10) - Red tuna, white tuna, salmon, snapper, and imitation crab with cucumber and avocado, rolled with rice and soy paper and topped with spicy mayo. This was our favorite roll in the flight. Despite the menu stating that the rolls were cooked, I was not expecting it to be so warm, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well I liked it. All the seafood was incredibly fresh, with absolutely no fishy taste at all. The rice and soy paper instead of the traditional seaweed paper included in more traditional rolls was a nice touch as well.
Dr. Singh Roll ($16 for 8 pieces or $31 for 16 pieces) - Shrimp tempura roll, topped with freshly cut mango, sweet shrimp, lobster claw meat and imitation crab and drizzled with homemade chili oil. I enjoyed the flavor combinations in this roll; again, however, I was surprised by the presentation. The roll was buried under a massive portion of mango, shrimp and lobster claw meat. The mango pieces were huge, making it difficult to taste any other flavors with it because it was impossible to pick anything else up with chopsticks. This may sound like a petty complaint, but I have never had a sushi roll with such massive toppings before. The roll itself was good, but I don't think I'd order it again.
We also ordered the Red Dragon Roll ($17), a spicy tuna roll topped with tuna sashimi and finished with homemade chili oil, spicy mayo and tobiko. This roll is spicy, but the kick comes at the end and isn't overpowering. The flavors of the tuna still shine through. Of the five rolls we tried, this one may be my favorite. It is a bit more traditional, but there's nothing wrong with that when dining on sushi.
Our non-sushi eating friend ordered the Fried Rice ($14), made with shrimp, kani-kama, egg, green onion and edamame, and while he is a traditionalist and typically not a fan of shrimp or lobster, he enjoyed this dish. I stole a few bites and was very impressed with it. It's like your favorite fried rice all dressed up in fancy clothes.
If you have room for dessert, I highly recommend the Chocolate Cake made by Hetty Arts Pastry. It is served with a decadent chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. I shared mine, and I wish I'd had an entire piece to myself.