well-spaced tables, and a handsome sushi bar as the focal point of the dining room. We were greeted by an enthusiastic young woman, who quickly showed us to a table and within seconds delivered a cup of hot tea.
Over the course of several visits I found much to like about Umi Sushi. The one problem was that the food often crossed the line from subtle to blah.
In the generous $13 dinner bento, the fried foods stood out. Two gyoza dumplings were stuffed plump with well-seasoned ground meat, and the panko-breaded shrimp and sliced vegetables (onion ring, broccoli, and sweet potato) were, if not classically tempura-airy, admirably crunchy outside and cooked in a way that let their essential flavors shine through. The tempura's biggest drawback was that the accompanying dish of dipping sauce was stingy, both in quantity and flavor-and the flavor shortage was a recurring problem. Friends and I tried various bento permutations-those built around spicy chicken, beef bulgogi, and salmon and chicken teriyaki. Of these options, only the spicy chicken bound with a moderately hot chili sauce was robust enough for my taste-the bulgogi was passable, while the teriyakis were tame enough to pass for hospital food. A bowl of udon can be a wonderfully understated dish, but it takes the right touch to make it interesting; Umi Sushi's stopped short, presenting its thick noodles in a virtually unseasoned watery broth.