If you Google “Japanese Street Food,” you’re likely to see DC’s Umaya Izakaya as the top search result.

Known for its Asian-accented cocktails, Umaya has set the stage for DC’s Japanese street food scene. With a high-energy open kitchen concept, this Japanese astro-pub has put a delicious spin on popular Asian dishes such as sushi and ramen.


Recently, the restaurant hosted a media-only pilot dinner ahead of the launch of their new monthly Chef’s Experience with Head Chef Nick Hoang. The dinner, which was released to the public this fall, features new hand-crafted cocktails and bites that highlight specialty ingredients like foie gras and lobster.

For sips, the new Chef’s menu includes sweet Sake Rosé and a number of newly developed craft cocktails that are sure to tantalise the senses. True works of mixology art, the cocktails are created using premium liquors with fresh, floral, and fruity flavours. A sampling of the drinks on the menu deck are below:

  1. The “Nikka Old Fashioned”
    (a slightly sweetened version of the traditional Old Fashioned, Yuzu Honey is the star of this show)
  2. The famous “Toki Highball”
    (a simple and stylish Japanese favorite, it’s a flavourful mixture of Japanese whiskey and ().
  3. The “Yuzu Chuhai”
  4. The Uni Sake Jello Shot
    Just as the name insinuates,  a small slice of sweet uni (sea urchin) is placed inside a tall shot glass of sparkling sake jello. The flavour of both combined tastes similar to Skittles candy).

The monthly specialty small plates and shareable dishes that are patron favourites include:

Small plates:

Photo Credit: Alexandra Booze, East Coast Contessa

  • Garlic Yuzu Kosho Lamb Chops
  • Grilled Tuna Steak (or a “Catch of the Day”)

Shareable plates:

Hot Stone Wagyu Beef at Umaya DC. Photo Credit: Alexandra Booze, East Coast Contessa


  • Seared Yellowtail Tataki
  • Hot Stone Wagyu Beef
    Introduced this past summer, the Hot Stone Wagyu beef is an crowd pleaser.

Sushi & Shashimi:

Photo Credit: Alexandra Booze, East Coast Contessa

In an effort to create a unique experience outside of Umaya’s regular menu, Chef Hoang designed revolutionary sushi and shashimi selections that are on rotation. A sample of these options are:

  • Lobster Sashimi
  • Uni Sashimi
  • Seared Wagyu Nigiri
  • Seared Toro Nigiri
  • Seared Salmon Belly

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