If you’re like me, then you’ve walked and driven past Umami’s in downtown Bangor, and wondered what it was like inside. Well, you can put your wonderings aside. I finally went in, and now I’m here to deliver my rave review!
When I stepped through the doors of Umami, I was greeted with warmth, acoustic music, lots of greenery, and the subtle smell of Asian spices. The sign at the front said to order at the back counter, so I walked to the back. The service was quick – I had only been standing there a minute before a young woman came to help me out. I asked her about their various dishes, and she was both informative and helpful. Umami’s menus includes a few appetizers, a couple of different kinds of sandwiches, and of course, their noodle bowls.
You have a couple of options when ordering noodles from Umami. You can order one of their signature bowls, including the Tokyo Tonkotsu, the Vegan Venture, the Big Easy, and a few others. Or! You can build your own bowl of noodles. Have you ever been to a build your own burrito place? Well this is similar. You start with your broth (with choices of beef, veggie, miso, tom yum, and others), then you add your noodles (with choices including ramen, rice, egg, etc.), then add your protein (tofu, beef, kielbasa, chicken…), and finally you can throw some add-ons in your bowl (with options including boiled egg, snow peas, kimchi, and sautéed onions).
I decided to save the adventure of building my own bowl for another time, and I went with one of their most popular bowls: The Big Easy. It has chicken and kielbasa, and is served with rice noodles and in a Tom Yum broth. After asking, I learned that Tom Yum broth is one of their most traditional Asian broths, and it has a mildly spicy, somewhat sour taste.
I paid ten dollars for the signature bowl, and found a seat. The décor was eclectic and fun, they have an accent wall made entirely of reclaimed wood, which was very cool.
A man came out within five minutes with my beautiful bowl of noodles. I was so impressed! It was piled high with noodles, chicken, kielbasa, skillet sweet corn, shaved carrots, bean sprouts, scallions, and a rich broth flecked with chili flakes. Once I had a bite, I could barely stop! The flavors were rich and there was so much to taste. The broth had a rich flavor, and the bowl was chock-full of goodies. The sweet corn perfectly offset the subtle spiciness of the broth, and the bean sprouts added a great crunch. I believe it was the heartiest bowl of noodles I’ve ever eaten.
I sat back to drink the last of my Barq’s root beer (in a glass bottle too, wicked fun) and soaked in the atmosphere. It was somewhat busy, but not loud. It was a little on the cold side, and although I understand this is a Maine winter we’re talking about, I also noticed that a few other people (along with myself) had kept their coats on to eat. The servers were very friendly, catching everyone before they left and thanking them for stopping in.
All in all, the food was knock-your-socks-off amazing, and I’m sure I’ll be back for more. It was definitely a must-see and I’ll be sure to recommend it.
What about you? Are you a noodle fan? What local restaurants do you enjoy in your area? Share in the comments below to join in the conversation.
For more information on Umami Noodle Bar: https://www.facebook.com/Umami-Noodle-Bar-1401510923402969/
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