On a Roll: Nakama and Umi Freshen Up Pittsburgh’s Sushi Scene

There are few things as fresh and as light as sushi. The rice, fluffed with a mixture of rice vinegars, sugar, and salt, and the surprise of an Omakase menu — chef’s selection — are just two of my favorite things. All bites aside, what’s not to love about the colorful presentation? We explored the opulent offerings at Nakama and Umi. The choices will entice your senses.

By Andrea Bosco
Photography: Michael Fornataro

Taste the Rainbow

Nakama’s Tropical Rainbow roll is comprised of a shrimp tempura roll, topped with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, and red snapper, and is torched and topped with fresh mango and a spicy mango sauce.

Nakama, Pittsburgh sushi, tropical rainbow roll

Chef’s Tasting

At Umi, simple and clean is key. Executive Chef Mr. Shu and Sous Chef Jesse Wilson prepare fish imported from around the world, including Japan, Alaska, and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Over the years, Mr. Shu has perfected his slicing method, using different knives for different applications throughout his preparations. The Omakase menu encourages patrons to “trust the chef” and be surprised. Here, he presents an array of delicious, delicate ingredients.

From top to bottom:
  • Toro, or the fatty underbelly of bluefin tuna. Its rich flavor is accented by a Yuzu gelee and chopped chive.
  • Red snapper, or mild white fish, is topped with ume, a sweet plum paste, and a shiso leaf.
  • Salmon, topped with a miso cream cheese and a slice of cherry tomato.
  • Ahi tuna, topped with a roasted garlic aioli.
  • Sawara, or Spanish mackerel, topped with chopped garlic vegetable soy.

Umi, Pittsburgh sushi, Omakase menu

Give it T-Umi

The Yellowtail Jalapeño at Umi is a very mild whitefish, accompanied by Yuzu sauce, which comes from a tart Japanese fruit. Each piece is topped with a sliver of jalapeño for zing and texture.

Umi, Pittsburgh sushi, yellowtail jalapeno

Umi, 5849 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside. 412.362.6198. bigburrito.com/umi
Nakama, 1611 E. Carson St., South Side. 412.381.6000. eatatnakama.com
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