A Sushi Experience: Ume, Williamsburg

This starts off as spontaneous plans between my friend and I. We both love Japanese culture and both have goals to visit Japan one day. I guess I have to mention that we both were introduced to Japanese culture by something very common: Anime. I've been watching Anime for almost 12 years and ever since then I've been in love with the idea of visiting Japan. From the architecture, plants, and most importantly, food. Sushi has been something I'm always down to eat, I find it so fun and creative. But what I find most interesting is how so much flavor and complexity can be incorporated into those little bites.


So when my friend told me that he found this place that gives an authentic Japanese restaurant feel, I didn't hesitate to say yes. I probably cut him off before he was finished just from the excitement I felt. I had very high hopes. And those hopes didn't even come close to how amazing the place made me feel. Exceeded each and every one of my expectations.


From the moment you walk in you feel different. The aura changes. Peace and serenity. If you don't know what you're looking for then you won't find this place. Is not noticeable from the outside. It doesn't look like a restaurant, maybe a little plant gallery installation. It's almost as if its closed off to the public, an invite only location that you must know the password to get in through the second door. But it is just a restaurant plus much more; an experience.



The details, every step of the way is admirable. When you walk in there's nothing but a paper that says "Please ring the doorbell... and someone will be with you shortly." Almost as if you're walking into a neighbors house, it felt very pleasant. Like you're a guest more than a customer. The waiting area is small and cute with plants and lights that feel soothing.


The next door you enter is the area where you must take off your shoes and wash your hands, I loved this detail. Because it follows the guidelines of keeping safe from COVID-19, but you can feel it was not implemented because of that, more so, they always did that; it's part of the experience. The design of this area added to the restaurant, that's the first moment you feel you left Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It happens almost instantly that the doors behind you are closed and that's because it feels so mysterious. You're filled with curiosity of what's to come next.




After, you'll walk through some curtains, you understand everything. You can see the whole restaurant from this point. It's extremely intimate. You can see the chefs already working on your plate, preparing the sushi you're about to eat. The hostess will guide you through the chefs and into the seating area which feels more like a gallery mixed with a Japanese garden. The tables are low and there are pillows on the floor for you to sit. I personally grew up eating on the floor with my plate on my legs when I was a kid so it felt nostalgic.






Now to the food, it was epic. There is a way to eat it, the staff gives you a sheet of the Prefix menu with information so that your experience is the best possible, plus another sheet if you would like to add any other Sushi, drinks, or dessert.




They advice to drink the soup first which might seem like a side but to me it felt like it's own delicious meal. Then they advice to taste all the salts (9 in total) before mixing it with your food, each one is so powerful in taste and very different from all the others. The sheet has the info where the salts come from. For the main course you start eating from left to right, according to the sheet. The thing is they want you to play with your food. You have rice and nori (dried seaweed) to mix with the sushi how ever you want to. That being said there's so many combinations that you could eat what's in front of you. Wrap the Sushi in the nori with rice, or no rice, or just eat rice and the sushi and salt, or no salt. It's never ending.






It's funny that I watched this anime called Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma that it's about exactly what the title says. Different chefs compete and their meals are judged. In this anime when the judges, or anyone for that matter, tastes the food they have an orgasmic reaction. Sometimes so strong that they're mentally transferred to another area of Japan or feel like they're being hugged by the food. I bring this up because that's exactly how I felt eating this food. Each bite felt like a different world. I was amazed with those 12 bites, feeling like I tasted a different part of Japan with each one. The food was fresh, tasty, and rich. And as you move on to the right of the plate, as directed, they get more magnificent. My favorite was the quail egg that you pour onto it, the presentation plus the feel once I ate it were in sync.


It was liberating feeling. I felt like everything made sense in my life and the steps I wanted to take for the future (not even exaggerating a little bit). Always been someone who loves foods and traveling but this experience made me want to center my life around it.


If there were more stars to give, I'd give it. This place deserves all the awards.


Address: 237 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11249.

https://www.umenewyork.com/


They're open to both walk ins and reservations, even though I advise making a reservation due to the size of the place.

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