Umami Asian Kitchen
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Nah, you didn’t miss a drawing for a gift card to stand online at The Lady and Sons. But you will miss a ground floor opportunity to be first among your friends to sample Umami in 12 Oaks Shopping Center. Ever since Semolina closed – and it was marginal at best – a disappointing stream of restaurants filled this spacious slot in the near Southside diverse and attractive little center. Now, Umami has filled that gap – and delivers some rock star spice, made–to–order Pan Asian dishes and brings a decidedly different vibe. My wok–fired Spicy Orange with Chicken stir fry was hot, spicy, (as billed) and a hearty enough portion that I almost wished I had passes on sharing an order of Vietnamese Basil Rolls and and bamboo steamer packed with a quartet of Shanghai dumplings. The quick fried chicken was accompanied by seared onions, red bell pepper and snow peas; a side of Jasmine rice made the meal. The basil rolls were crunchy fresh with rice, carrots and, of course, basil – all tied together with a savory peanut dipping sauce.
Umami, the so–called fifth flavor, stands tall in the restaurant’s sauces – which are made in house. The same peanut sauce accompanied the dumplings – doughy wontons steamed and served filled with pork and fresh ginger. On a second visit, I equally enjoyed the wok dish called Sesame – a version of sesame chicken in a rich Hoisin sauce. Know that spicy dishes have not been “Savannah–ized” and dumbed-down – you will break a sweat.
A cool collection of exotic teas are among drink options – the restaurant will be getting a beer and wine license in the next few days. Oh, it’s not fast food...but a sit down restaurant that offers meals to languish over, including a variety of noodle bowls, curries, soups and salads – with lots of vegetarian options, including tofu.
12 Oaks Shopping Center/692–1411
So long, goddess
Eos, the day–welcoming goddess of dawn, smiled on her namesake restaurant on Habersham Street for more than two years.The last Sunday of June, owner Shelley Smith sent her packing.
Faced with too few seats and too much rent in a new lease, Smith reluctantly pulled the plug. It was an easy business decision but a tough emotional call. The good news is that Smith can now focus her attention purely on Eos’ sister restaurant, Sol, right down the street. Here, Johnny Baker III had a proven winner with his Queeny’s A Go–Go. With Smith on target, she should take Sol to the next level – and get a running chance to be a success with plenty of seats, lots of parking and a full service bar.