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Badass Curries, and Then Some, at Jason Dady’s Umai Mi

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Umai Mi wins the green papaya salad-off

The lamb is considered a “large” plate and merits a reasonable $19. At $13 and $15 respectively, the unagi jungle curry and panang curry with crispy duck and crispy noodles are considered bowls and are both products of the massive mortar and pestle that is not just an adornment on the chef’s counter.

They are also both badass. Dady has elected to spend the kitchen’s time hand-grinding the curries from scratch, not with making noodles. The decision makes special sense here as the noodles ultimately melt magnificently into the vibrant curry, leaving the duck to supply the textural element. But if the duck is dangerously good, the jungle curry with eel and Japanese eggplant is utterly mind-blowing, the ultimate umami experience, at once mellow and challenging. In contrast to any expectations regarding halved pig’s heads, there will be no eels apparent in this dish—just fantastic and well-integrated flavors.

Should dessert now seem essential, go for it; the appropriately quotation-marked “Thai Iced Coffee” is well worth investigating. The only challenge here is knowing when to stop. If at all.

5:15 p.m., March 5, 2014: This article has been corrected to properly identify the interior design team.


Umai Mi

555 W Bitters,
(210) 496-0555,
The Skinny An irreverent take on classic and modern Asian, with dishes ranging from doctored deviled eggs to tamarind-lacquered brisket and miso-marinated sea bass
Best bets Barrel-aged Old Fashioned and Little Bit Country cocktails, green papaya salad, beef tongue steamed buns, unagi jungle curry, panang duck curry, “Thai Iced Coffee.”
Hours 11am-2pm (Dim sum), 2-9pm (full menu) Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Thur; 11am-11pm Fri-Sat; Happy Hour 4-6pm Mon-Fri; 11am-2pm Sun
Price $4-$24

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