Little Italy has a new vegan eating option, with restaurant Umami now open and serving up meat-free ramen.
It takes over the Clark Street location that was previously Le Ballpark — one of Ballpark’s owners, Dominic St-Laurent, is behind the project (which has involved a makeover of the corner restaurant), and is joined by a new partner, Cédric Charron.
Ramen is a primary focus here — Umami is making its own noodles in-house, and offering various broths, including miso, spicy miso, and the soy-based shoyu. To make things summer-friendly, cold ramen dish tsukemen is also available, with those options, plus a spicy curry edition.
Charron has experience to back it up, having worked in kitchens in Japan; he has also tested Umami’s concept during pop-up festival Restaurant Day in the past.
Of course, ramen is traditionally made with pork (or other meat broths), although this doesn’t preclude the possibility of a meat-free option, which is exactly what Umami is doing — and as the name implies, it seems the broths will have enough umami, courtesy of ingredients like miso, to prove potentially just as satisfying. There’s also some solid effort going into the ingredients — beyond the house noodles, Umami is also producing its own tofu in-house.
Beyond ramen are a few small plates like crispy agedashi (fried tofu) with ume plum, and a wakame (seaweed) salad. In the evenings, the menu expands to include a variety of all-vegan izakaya options, such as mock chicken karaage, a tonkatsu dish made with tempeh, okonomiyaki, and gyoza (dumplings).
It’s also solidly affordable — the izakaya dishes almost entirely clock in under $10, while ramen runs $14.50 a bowl.
True to an izakaya, plenty of sake and beer will also be served, as well as house kombucha for non-drinkers.
STATUS — Umami is open at 6660 Clark Street (corner St-Zotique) from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
- Umami [Official]
- A Vegan Ramen Spot is Opening in Little Italy This July [EMTL]