Best Restaurant Without a Sign (in English) - 2007
Unless you read Japanese, the outside of Umami in Cow Hollow gives little hint of what the inside holds. With a small, dark sign in Japanese calligraphy, Umami is a trendy new addition to the neighborhood. Step inside the Asian-fusion eatery and you will see an interior to match the mystique the owners have carefully crafted. The restaurant is lined with dark, chic wallpaper and adorned with Japanese-style lanterns and modern hanging lamps. Even though the place has virtually no sign outside and its Web site is still incomplete, Umami is no secret to the young, well-manicured crowd it attracts. On weekend evenings, the decibel level in the dining room grows as diners down the various sakes from the wine list. The ahi poke with wasabi tobiko, and the spicy scallop roll with king salmon and Meyer lemon are good bets at this cool, sexy spot.