Update: Ume closed and Plum Bar expanded into that space on 9/10/14
I really enjoyed the creative small plates at Plum when it opened about almost four years ago. Since then, there have been 7 or 8 other chefs in charge, so the restaurant has gone through a lots of transitions. Owner Daniel Patterson decided to change the whole concept and closed Plum one week and reopened as Ume the next.
Ume is the Japanese word for Plum, so now they’re serving Japanese-inspired California cuisine. I met some of food blogger friends for dinner: Brenda of Bites & Bourbon, Ben of Focus, Snap, Eat and Sandy from Foodhoe’s Foraging. It’s good to go with a group so you can order several dishes and share everything.
We started with the Puffed Brown Rice Crackers with Umami Powder ($5), which were crispy and airy like chicharrones.
Everyone liked the refreshing Tomato Salad with Runner Beans, Miso and Shiso ($10) but the Marinated Salmon with Shio Koji, Yuzu, Turnip ($13) was Brenda’s favorite. It was a raw, which was unexpected because that detail wasn’t on the menu. The crudo turned out to be a pleasant surprise because of the bright and clean flavors.
These two dishes were my favorites: the Charred Broccoli with Misonnaise ($8) and the Umeboshi-Glazed Pork Ribs with Pickled Greens ($11), which were crispy on outside, juicy on side and incredibly flavorful.
Unfortunately, there were several problems with the Fried Chicken Ramen ($17). The broth was one note; the chicken was over cooked; and while the noodles had a nice springy texture, they were overwhelmingly smoky.
By this point in the meal, I was getting full so I can’t really remember the Braised Oxtail with Kimchi, Crispy Potato and Ginger ($17). But I’m pretty sure they were tasty. Guess I’ll have to go back to make sure…
9/11/14: Heads up…Ume closed and Plum Bar expanded into that space.