Monday, June 7, 2010

Umi Nom

When looking to start a restaurant, most owners strive to set up shop in the most happening of neighborhoods. It's hard enough to stay open these days, so heading to the well-trafficked areas tends to ease some pressure, allowing them to focus on the actual kitchen. Well, meet Umi Nom's Chef King. He continues to do the opposite and continues to beat the odds. With the opening of Kuma Inn in 2003 on the second floor of a lower east side tenement, he was one of the first to discover this neighborhood that was not all that long ago considered a rough one. Now, one of the hottest areas in the city, the lower east side is home to countless high quality restaurants and bars, with a line continuously streaming out of Kuma Inn.

On the very outskirts of Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Chef King has opened up his latest, risky endeavor - Umi Nom. Similar to the successful Kuma Inn, the menu is a tribute to his upbringing, offering the most delicious Filipino and Thai creations. And similar to Kuma Inn, he has moved into an area that is still off the beaten path. In fact, the closest subway is the mysterious G train - have you ever even ridden on it? Nevertheless, when I visited midweek, the place filled up in no time. The neighborhood has certainly embraced this ethnic treasure and it won't be long before others follow suit. As the draw to Brooklyn continues, there is no doubt that this location will no longer seem so far off the map.

And the minute you enjoy the food, you too will realize the very reason that the G train continues to operate. All dishes are meant to be shared and don't hold back. They are all extremely well-priced and filling all at the same time - a carnivore's heaven. If there is one dish that you must order, it's the sauteed sweet sausage served with sticky rice and a Thai-chili lime sauce. We all know that sausage is my weakness, but honestly, this dish will make any one go weak at the knees. The sausage and the rice are both perfectly crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside. I also highly recommend the ma-banh beef tapa. This is fried, thinly sliced dried beef served with a smoked chili sauce. If that is not enough meat for you, try the grilled marinated pork chop served with fish sauce, plum sugar, lemongrass, and garlic. The charred, thin meat boasts extremely rich Asian flavors. I was also impressed with the umi nom crispy wings tossed in salt and anaheim peppers. This was an excellent Asian preparation for an American classic. You will also find more traditional rice and noodle dishes on the menu - which are all excellent as well. However, those dishes were not quite as original as the unique dishes that I mentioned above. The innovative dishes mixed with the traditional made for an eventful and satisfying evening from start to finish.

Now that summer has arrived, it's the perfect time of year for an adventure. A subway ride or two becomes a little less daunting as the days are longer, warmer, and just somehow more manageable all around. It's time to step out of your comfort zone, hope on that G train, and see what Umi Nom (and that delicious sweet sausage) is all about. Who knows, you may even discover your new favorite up-and-coming neighborhood and barely glimpse back at Manhattan. Based on Chef King's excellent location intuition, he may also be your perfect real estate guide.

Umi Nom on Urbanspoon

Umi Nom
433 Dekalb Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205
(718) 789-8806

FOOD RATING (Out of 5):


Kristin | The Pearl Onion said...

Yum! I will have to got here with my friends who just moved to Brooklyn :-)

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melinda said...

Enjoy your blog :) It makes me want to go and eat! Special interest here when I saw Filipino in the heading, Umi Nom means "to drink" in my language, a place I'd like to try next time we're in NY. Thank you!