According to Wikipedia, Umami, a savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. A loanword from the Japanese, umami comes from umai “delicious” and mi “taste.” The umami flavor, which is difficult to describe, induces salivation and stimulates the throat, the roof and the back of the mouth.
A team of Austin restaurant veterans including Adam Weisberg (Zen, Lucky Robot), Mark Turner and Rick Engel (Austin Java, Lil’ Woodrows) will soon bring this food concept to Austin. In early May they will open the Umami Mia Pizzeria, translating the umami concept to pizza, salads and sandwiches.
“We wanted to create a fun neighborhood Italian restaurant with a great menu, an indoor and outdoor bar, and a patio so our guests could feel comfortable stopping by for lunch, after work drinks or on the weekends with friends and family,” says Mark Turner, co-owner of Umami Mia Pizzeria. “We also want to familiarize Austin with the concept of umami. The tastes of sweet, salty, bitter and sour are familiar, but umami is the lesser-known fifth taste. Described as rounded, rich and savory, umami is found naturally in foods like ripe tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and mushrooms. Umami Mia Pizzeria spotlights the umami taste in every dish.”
Executive Chef George Thomas (Soleil, Paggi House, Kenichi and Imperia) will run the kitchen. Located in the former Romeo’s space at 1500 Barton Springs, the 1,993 sq. ft dining room and 2,500 sq. ft patio offers seating for over 200 guests. The restaurant will remain open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and late night.
Menu highlights include: Mean Green Pizza (Umami Citrus Soy Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, Chili Flakes, Lemon Zest, Parmesan, Pine Nuts), Here Piggy Pizza (Braised Bacon, Crispy Fried Carrot, House Pickled Jalapeno, Blue Cheese), Ricotta and Spinach Pizza (Oak Roasted Cherry Tomato, Garlic, Chili Flakes, Lemon Zest), Oak Grilled Meatball Sandwich (Mission Fig Sauce, Gorgonzola, Arugula Lemon Olive Oil), Umami Cobb (Roasted Chicken, Grilled Bacon, Hardboiled Egg, Avocado, Arugula, Watercress, Frisee, Pickled Red Onions, Grilled Corn, Cherry Tomato, Chunky Blue Cheese Vinaigrette) and Sausage Noodles (House Pesto, House Made Sausage, Ricotta, Toasted Fennel Seeds).
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