report on umi nom in clinton hill
visited umi nom last night, the outpost of kuma inn in clinton hill. while the service was really super friendly and helpful, and the chef (maybe owner) came out to chat, i think the food was definitely not a destination spot. i am guessing though if you live in clinton hill it would be a nice place to go. the interior is quite nice too though it got mighty loud early on.
also they don't have their liquor license yet so bring your own for now.
as for food, the best thing might have been the "amuse bouce" of fried wontons with cream cheese and crabmeat. not something i would usually eat. we also had the special grilled pork belly that sounded delicious and had a nice sauce but it was too dry. the thai beef salad had the same result. it was fine, nothing special, and sometimes the meat was dry. the only other thing we had was the fried tilapia with a wasabi tobiko aioli. pretty good, but it was basically just fried fish -- hard to go wrong.
last we had the pancit canton with sausage, chicken, egg noodles soy and fish sauce and boy was it fishy. we wanted to try something different and maybe it was authentic but i just am not a big fish sauce person. and we were too stuffed for dessert though the summer fruit soup sounded like it might be good.
i have never been to kuma inn so i cannot compare but sadly at least for now i probably won't be heading back here.
My two cents, for what it's worth, is that my wife and enjoyed our dinner there. It was several months ago, so I can't really give specifics. I do remember thinking that everything we had ranged from good to excellent. I also remember wanting to go back. Now that I've read this post, maybe we will. Thanks!
had a really excellent meal there (5 of us, one being a friend of the chef) recently; despite the mixed reviews, the place was really quite enjoyable, and a good value as well. we had:
+ crab wonton (on the house) was . . . . actually better than most.
+ house pickles (cukes, long beans, radishes, maybe turnips) which looked ordinary but were much spicier and punchier than they seemed
+ asian market greens came in the form of perfectly cooked bok choy with garlic.
+ crispy calamari transcended with a very nice batter on rings, with a buncha geso-age!
+ grilled mackerel was a big sucker; delicious, esp. with side salad; we ate this one down to the delciously crispy bones and other parts
+ sauteed sweet sausage was amazing! sticky rice with longanisa cooked in sauce; i usually like this grilled but this saute version is something i wouldn't do yet thoroughly enjoyed
+ grilled pork chop looked plain but was amazingly tender; very nice flavor
+ grilled skirt steak was also well-cooked, beautifully plated, underseasoned
+ mani (boiled peanuts) also on the house were . . . . good, i guess?
+ pancit canton was really really good, unlike any i've ever had but very generous with ingredients: big ol shrimp, sausage, chicken, really chock full of flavor (i didn't taste any patis) and ingredients. as one of us tossed the bowl before serving, the pile of noodles seemed to expand before our eyes!
+ bahay kubo fried rice was the exact same ingredients as the pancit but with rice; also damn tasty.
+ a special of soup dumplings which were actually quite good
+ rice of course!
+ we had all 3 desserts: warm chocolate cake (basic flourless, but good); fruit soup which was so amazing (candied pear, maybe apple, a few others, in a vanilla-ginger syrup that had just a nice taste; hard to describe the soup but a definite must order; never tasted vanilla like that before) and the ice cream of the day was banana (not made on-site, but apparently custom-made for the restaurant); it was delicious!
overall, the food was really quite good; the menu doesn't read amazing, but the plating, the condiments, garnishes and other side seasonings were very good. i didn't expect much from the meal but was very pleasantly surprised. all the ingredients were beautiful (big beautiful seafood and vegetables) and well-prepared; overall, the food was on the sweet side but they had no problems with our multiple requests for patis on the side, or cut up chilis, other items. the noodles and rice were very very good and the pickles were very nice as well. I don't think the place has an identity issue or anything that is actually a problem because the food tries to stay somewhat neutral in terms of country of origin, or at least, varied; offering many different types of dishes without exoticizing; we actually ordered the XLB because the chef had it as a special and it was the last order available; we got it in order to prevent other diners from ordering what would probably be really bad but actually, it was good! we let it sit for a bit too long so the skin got thick but flavor wise, spot on (as good as joe's, which is a low bar). the menu reads very plain, but the dishes were all far from that.
the chef came by to chat and was very humble, very open to comments and a genuine nice guy. we went on a wednesday evening around 7:30pm and the restaurant (long narrow space, bar area in front) was actually kinda full, maybe 5 or 6 two-tops, and 2 or 3 larger parties near the front. the decor was beautiful (great lighting).
personally, i don't live nearby so I'm not sure I'd hit this place up often but if i did, i would be so happy! we were all very happy, very full and with a BYOB policy in effect, we each dropped $30 for a great time.
HypeKiller, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the joint as well.
We went there a couple of weeks ago and was incredibly happy when we left. Loved the pork, and the dumplings. The service was amazing. We were given a variety of amuse bouche apart from our order that were delicious.
I am recommending this to all my friends who live in brooklyn or are wanna be brooklynites. Definitely a nice addition to our hood.
Sir chowalot below may have been a bit distracted with the 2 year old to appreciate the flavors this restaurant has to offer.
Go! And enjoy!
Yeah, I was a little disappointed at our meal there. Had eaten at Kuma a couple years ago and really found it spot on (haven't been back since moving to Bklyn, so don't know what it's like these days), so was eager to try Umi Nom (will also mention, in establishing bona fides, that I've also spent an extended period in SE Asia - including the Philippines - so am very familiar with the various cuisines of the region). Unfortunately, UN didn't live up to expectations. We tried wide a swath of the menu - from grilled mackeral (beautifully cooked, but not really seasoned, at least not enough to be noticeable given the inherent fishiness of mackeral) to the tragically overcooked pork chops and the stickily oversweet ribs to the blandly battered and deep fried salt and pepper wings (where was the salt or pepper?), accompanied by a few slices of chili pepper, as well as a few other unmemorable plates. The noodles and rice dishes (we had the pad see aw, the pad thai and the garden vegetable fried rice) were average, nothing bespoke or unique.
I must also say that I hate cream cheese in dumplings, and add that it is a gimmick well past its prime (that was our amuse also).
The service was earnest and well-intentioned, and I spent a few minutes in the back where the open kitchen is located, talking to some of the chefs, who kindly gave my 2-yr old some treats. I also liked the space and the intent of the place - hopefully it will evolve into something I will want to return to and bring friends with. I know the owner has the ability to do so (judging by Kuma) - and I'm hopeful that Umi Nom will work out the kinks.
I have been itching to go visit Umi Nom, so I appreciate your report. For the record, pancit canton does not normally have fish sauce, rather it is seasoned with a citrus soy sauce. Were there heavier South Asian accents on the menu than in your dinner? The idea of Filipino-South Asian is what mainly attracted me to the restaurant.