Not a lot of Japanese restaurants are able to offer dishes to cater to different kinds of diets: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan. However, at the newly opened Umaya Izakaya in downtown DC, there’s a variety of choice for people with any kind of dietary restriction. As a vegetarian, I am very appreciative of this! The menu is huge, so take your time to carefully peruse it before you order.
If you want to kick off with a salad, try the wild mushroom salad; just be sure that you really, really love mushrooms! The mushrooms are marinated in a light, vinegar-infused sauce and served alongside a green salad. For a starter with a crunch, the tempura is a good choice. I love that it featured okra tempura, something different than the typical carrot and zucchini tempura you see at most places.
Next up: Sushi, which is great for sharing with your dining partner before your main course. The chef at Umaya Izakaya goes beyond just avocado rolls for vegetarians. There are sweet potato tempura rolls, asparagus tempura rolls, and avocado-mushroom-red pepper rolls.
Robatayaki, or grilled skewers, also come with different vegetable options; the ones I had were a mixed of zucchini, sweet cherry tomatoes, and squash. The trio of dipping sauces on the side, one mustard, one soy sauce based, and one a spicy ketchup, add flavor, and you do get more than one skewer per order so this dish is great for sharing too.
The ramen at Umaya Izakaya is not your typical Japanese ramen, but was probably my favorite dish of the night. It is chock full of tofu, corn, enoki mushrooms, bamboo, and seaweed. The broth is a light but creamy, slightly sweet broth, which you will want to slurp up all day long. Other entree options include donburi and yakisoba.
Your best bet for dessert comes in a cocktail menu: try the lychee, sparkling wine, and sake concoction called sake-lini. For something even sweeter, get the Amai Ume, with vodka, plum wine, and pomegranate juice. Or, you can always enjoy one a sake or Japanese whiskey!
Umaya Izakaya: The Verdict
Umaya Izakaya is solid Asian downtown dining destination. The menu makes it a great option for a group that has different dining demands.
Umaya Izakaya, 733 10th St NW, Washington, DC 20001, Website