Friday, October 26, 2012

UMAI Sushi of West Hollywood

Less than half a mile away, UMAI features even funkier creations such as the Picasso Roll, a deep-fried roll without rice, meaning the spicy tuna, salmon, snow crab and grilled asparagus inside are wrapped directly with seaweed and then lightly tempura-fried. For years, the entire concoction was presented on top of vividly colorful sauces made of citrus, bell pepper and jalapeno; I heard that these days, eel sauce and ponzu sauce have at times been the substitute (and yes I wholeheartedly support that we Picasso Roll fans clamor to get our tricolored sauces back).

The Inazuma Roll, for $16.50, is another one of my old favorites at this joint, frankly because I’m a huge fan of the toppings: slivers of multicolored bell peppers mixed with red onions and a thick, zesty ginger sauce. The roll itself is a seared tuna-topped monstrosity, with spicy shrimp and avocado tucked inside. It’s headily indulgent as well as healthy: a rare combination.

If you dig albacore served sashimi-style, why not go for the Albacore Extreme for $17? For a seared fish dish can seldom go wrong when it’s smothered with crispy fried onions, roasted garlic and sesame ponzu sauce.

Another winner (I special-requested this off-the-menu version): the seared salmon sushi with sesame sauce, garlic ponzu and eel sauce, upon which glistening ikura sit, adhered by sticky dollops of Japanese mayonnaise. At first glance, the green bits sprinkled on top may appear to be chopped green onion, but they’re actually minced shiso, which lends a refreshing contrast to the rest of the roll’s flavors.

With extensive outdoor seating and holiday-appropriate d├ęcor already set up at UMAI, it’s easy to see this haunt is getting well-prepared for one of its busiest party nightsas it is, after all, a WeHo Halloween tradition.

8935 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood

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