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Restaurant Review: New Spring Menu Launches at DC’s Umaya Izakaya


Unrivalled Asian-Fusion

A staple of DC City Center dining is back at it with a new menu debut that takes the art of Asian-fusion to new heights. Umaya Izakaya, a high-energy Japanese “street-food” ramen and sushi bar introduced an impressive new lineup of elixirs, sushi bites, and interactive dining experiences to its spring menu.

Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.


With Chef Nick Hoang at the Umaya kitchen’s helm, notable Japanese-inspired cuisine starring fresh seafood, seasoned game, and crisp vegetables abound.

The “Fresh California Uni” with sweet sea urchin is an early favorite. Presented in a beautiful sea urchin shell, one won’t find an unpleasant “oceany flavor” in this space.

Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.

Topped with mild wasabi zuke (pickled wasabi), Chef Nick recommends eating the uni alone followed by adding a bit of cucumber, seaweed, and a shiso leaf to each bite.

Another new found fan favorite is the “Hot Stone A5 Wagyu Beef“.

Served rare and un-marinated on top of fresh cucumber slices, it is crisped to table side perfection on a Hot Stone using Japanese imported charcoal.

Each 1-oz strip of wagyu is accompanied by yuzu sauce, wasabi zuke, and a secret blend of garlic-based dipping powder.

To round out the menu, a variety of innovative duck-based dishes are highlights including the “Foie Gras Sushi Roll,” “Torched Duck Nigiri,” and “Duck Breast Ramen” with soy honey glazed duck breast to replace traditional pork.

Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.

If forced to choose between the three, the Foie Gras Sushi Roll should take precedence. Pan-seared without seasoning, the foie gras is nestled on top of the sushi rice ball and wrapped with pickled daikon.

Chef Nick recommends diners dip each piece in drizzled duck oil, followed by the soy sauce reduction before eating the piece whole.

Even with the intro of new duck ramen recipe, the same Umaya quality and flavor that has become known throughout the DMV can still be found in each hearty bowl.

Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.

Ramen noodles are made fresh, delivered weekly, and cooked to al dente perfection. All bowls of ramen are topped with fresh bok choy, sprouts and bamboo shoots for a proper ramen meal.

Japanese-Inspired Elixirs

The cocktail menu includes 12 new elixirs that incorporate a wide variety of liquor. Vodka, rum, gin, tequila and whiskey all make an appearance for a bold experience.

Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.

For those who prefer to drink their desserts, the “Matcha Mule” is a must.

A delicately sweetened matcha flavour with a blend of Hendrick’s gin, ginger beer, and agave is the perfect thirst-quencher.

Other beverage menu favourites are below:

  • Paloma”: Patrón with grapefruit, yuzu beer, togarashi salt rim (a Togarashi/Japanese 7 spice powder gives a spicy kick).
  • Lychee-Tini”: Passionfruit Rum, St. Germain, lychee, topped with ginger and dash of lime (ginger adds a refreshing taste).
  • Toki Old-Fashion”: Citrus honey, Suntory Toki, tea (light, smoky flavor)
  • Sake-tini”: Pineapple-infused vodka, sake, cucumber, melon liquor (foam + muddled cucumber provide a great combo)
  • Matcha Highball”: Yuzu honey (a spin on the traditional highball)
Photo courtesy of East Coast Contessa DC contributor, Joy Diffley.

For those on a budget, an updated Happy Hour menu has also made a debut and is perfect for an after work wind-down.

Featuring a variety of sushi, sharable appetizers, and gyoza and skewers, it’s fine-dining at an affordable price. Items range from $5-7 and drinks include draft beers, wine, sake, and a rotation of signature cocktails.

Book Your Dining Experience

For a more private dining experience, Umaya offers monthly Omakase (Chef’s menu) that can be personalised based on preference and food allergies. Pricing changes from month-to-month and tickets are available for purchase at for groups of up to 20 people.

For lunch and dinner walk-ins are welcome, but for best seating during busy hours and on weekends, reserve a table at

To keep a pulse on Chef Hoang’s latest creations on social media, follow Umaya on Instagram at @umayadc.

**This article was created in paid sponsorship with Umaya Izakaya. Photos are created and owned by DC contributor Joy Diffley for East Coast Contessa. You can follow Joy on Instagram at @omnivorous_meerkat.

1 Comment
  1. Kit Stanwood says

    This new Washington DC Asian restaurant menu looks so yummmmm!! I wanna check out the new dishes soon when im in the district next. Great photos and amazing writing per usual!


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