It’s getting to be the time of year when a visit to Chagrin Falls is especially appealing (even in the rain), and Umami has been on our “to try” list for a while, so we thought we’d check it out.

The establishment is quite small–it looks like it wouldn’t seat more than 15–20 people–and tastefully decorated in cool overtones. Most tables also have a good view into the kitchen.

Based on Dine-O-Mite’s recommendation, we started with the goat cheese dumplings.

As this place has “Asian” in its name, one might expect cheese filled pot stickers. These, though, are a bit more along the lines of gnocchi, but still very tasty with a mild ginger-soy (?) sauce that doesn’t get in the way of the cheesiness. All three of us really enjoyed these.

Sarah ordered the Udon Noodles for her entrée, which was the table’s favorite. The beefy mushroom sauce worked wonderfully with the toothsome noodles. The spicy beef was tender and generously portioned throughout.

I had the five spice braised pork with butternut gnocchi and schezwan pepper. The pork was nicely cooked and fragrant, and the gnocchi were rich, flavorful and almost buttery tasting. The plate somehow felt overly slanted towards the meat, though. I’m generally someone who leaves over starches in favor of other elements, but the rich, aromatic sauce in this dish was crying out for something (e.g. rice) to mop it up. I would have been happy to have a couple fewer chunks of pork (which was very generously portioned) in exchange for a pyramid of rice and more greens.

We ordered the cold green tea noodles for Jonathan. We really enjoyed the complexity of the spicing over the unique noodles. Jonathan was okay with them, but his preferred entrée was the Udon noodles (which he helped out on).

Some people have commented on discussion boards that this place is not “kid-friendly” but we had no problem bringing an open-minded seven and a half year old here. If your kid likes Asian food (most we’ve met do) and doesn’t go crazy in restaurants, he/she should be fine.

Umami Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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