Thursday, December 26, 2013


Umami, Strasbourg, 9/23/2013

Umami is a true Japanese cuisine and French cuisine fusion restaurant, located along the canal bank, the prettiest part of the city, in Strasbourg. It is a small restaurant, run by the chef and a server. It served dinner only. It is considered one of the finest restaurants in Strasburg. Strasburg has grown exponentially over the past ten years because many European Union’s administrative bodies are located in Strasbourg.

I had a 5-course tasting menu. The restaurant also served a la carte at dinner.

Amuse Bouche – “Caramelized Pork Belly and Cabbage Salad”. Pork belly was cooked and browned with crispy skin and brown sauce. It was definitely a fusion of east and west. The brown sauce has slight sweet taste. Shredded cabbage salad was Asian style; I can taste the slight sesame oil in the sauce. Salad was very refreshing and balancing with the rich dish of pork belly. My only complaint was the portion could have been larger.

1st Course – “Miso and Sake Marinated Foie Gras, Pickled Plum & Spicy Plum Pulp, Dashi Gelee." I was surprised to see this item on the menu. I requested for the inclusion of this item into my tasting menu and was permitted by the chef/owner. This is a truly unusual combination. I can taste the miso and sake in foie gras. The pickled plum complemented foie gras with a unique taste on my taste bud. Dashi gelee offered a bit of seafood taste in the jelly so that sweetness from the plum was not overwhelming.
2nd Course – “ Prawn Raviolis/Lemongrass –Coconut." Prawn was wrapped in wanton dough and cooked in lemongrass-coconut sauce. Even though the wanton wrapping was very thin, prawn was still very tender. Lemongrass-coconut sauce is another fusion of east-west. Using wanton wrapping made the prawn raviolis light, balance with the think sauce of lemongrass-coconut.
3rd Course – “Pike-Perch Filet/Tomato-Ajwain Coulis."  I was happy that fish was not overcooked, skin was crunchy. Ajwain is some kind of Indian spice. It was not very strong, but I could taste it. It is more or less like the combination of curry and coriander.
4th Course – “Braised Lamb Shank, Curried Eggplant and Semolina Gulette." I also made a request for the inclusion of this dish into my tasting menu. Braised shank of lamb was very tender and tasty with strong reduced red wine taste. Curried eggplant was also very prepared, it had the moderate taste of curry flavor. Semolina gulette was a crunchy piece of bread dough that you can coat it with sauce before you eat it.
5th Course – “Queyras Blue Cheese Steamed Bun/Grapes." This is the cheese course, a rather unusual item. Before I got the plate, I noticed that guest at the nest table were studying it before they started eating it. Steamed bun is a traditional Chinese delicacy. Here, blue cheese was wrapped inside the bun. Since the bun is served hot, it enabled cheese into a half-melting texture. It was served with plum sauce like most of the cheese platter served with some kind of sweet jelly. But, the plum sauce used here is different from the plum sauce used in “foie gras” dish.

6th Course – “Quetsche Plums/Lemon Curd." This is the desert dish. It is the crumb cake with cooked plum at the bottom, served with lemon curd. It is not the most complicated dish, but it showed the chef-owner’s creativity with using plum for many different dishes. After all the guests in the restaurant were served with savory dishes, chef/owner came out to socialize. He speaks English fluently because he interned in Canada many years ago. I complimented on his creativity and fine cuisine and had a picture taken with him.

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