After a few false starts, I finally made it to Umami in Catonsville. The first time I tried to go there was on a Monday. Guess which day they’re closed? Yep, Monday. It seemed like the only time I ever thought to go there was on a Monday, so it took a few weeks for me to get there. I finally went this week, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Umami is tiny, seating about 20 or so inside and a handful outside. A pair of pretty screens divide the seating area from the entrance, but otherwise the decor is sparse. The menu has the usual Mediterranean offerings: falafel, kabobs, hummus, and gyro, along with a handful of Indian dishes. You order at the counter and find a seat, and the food is brought to your table. (I’ve never quite understood that system. The person brings the food to your table and cleans up, so why not just order at the table? Are you supposed to tip the same as in a sit-down restaurant? It just seems like an odd hybrid.)
Anyway, I ordered baba ganoush and the lamb kabob platter, along with iced mango chai. I had just gotten myself settled when the food came. The baba ganoush was delicious: garlicky and smoky, it was served with hot naan and would have been enough for an entire meal by itself. The kabob platter consisted of chunks of grilled lamb, seasoned basmati rice, salad, and more naan. The lamb was tasty, although it and the rice were a little spicy. The dressing for the salad was an unusual blend of oil and vinegar and something else that I couldn’t place, some sort of greenish puree. It wasn’t as vinegar-heavy as some vinaigrettes, and it complemented the salad nicely. The mango chai was refreshing and came with free refills. My bill came to $21 plus tax, and there was enough left over for lunch the next day.
So would I eat there again? Yes, indeed. I’d like to try their hummus and kefta kabob, and the Indian entrees sound good. If you’re on Frederick Road in Catonsville, give Umami a try!
Umami Global Bistro, 712 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD 21228 http://www.umamibistro.com