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Friday March 27, 2015
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Too subtle?



The best I can say about Umi's California roll is that it was well constructed, tightly rolled and sliced into a size that would fit into a normal mouth in one piece. But the rice and crab had almost no flavor-the only notable element was a crunchy cucumber. And the spider roll, although artistically arranged on a pretty blond wood cutting board, tasted only of deep-fried-ness, not the real soft-shelled crab, nor any of the roll's other components.

After those busts, I went back to focus on the specialty rolls. The "Michigan" was not just nicely turned, it actually carried some flavor and had lots of varied silky textures from a layer of pale salmon and slivers of avocado on top to a creamy crab salad in the middle. The "Biwako" had similarly great textural variety, with four kinds of fish and tempura crunchies, but all those flavors were wiped out by a spicy crab salad-the one case in my meals here where the spicing was too strong. Super spiciness worked better in the "Texas" roll, with the sweet snap of asparagus and sourness of pickled daikon radish, among other elements, all rolled up and deep fried, then drizzled with eel sauce.

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