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Umai’s big menu has little payoff

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umai2

(Photo by Ben Savage / The DePaulia)

“Yeah, cool. Sounds good. See u there!”

Your slightly sweaty hands scurry across your iPhone screen, spelling out the letters “D-O-P-E.” Then, you press “send.” You just got your bad self a date. A real, proper, dinner date.

Just as the endorphins start to rush to your brain, you realize that you sent that response WAY too quickly. Now, she knows that you were literally staring at your phone in anticipation of her response. Maybe you just blew it. Maybe you need to get back on Tinder because you’re just too damn needy and clingy for OkCupid. Maybe you should text Colette.

“Haha it’s gonna be lit.”

Maybe this is going to be an awesome date.

You take your date to “Umai,” or “The New Duck Walk.” It’s got the “Hot and New” tag on Yelp, so there’s no way this could go wrong. You’re suave and sophisticated.

You open the door for your date and walk in after her. The hostess asks you “How many?” You don’t hear it. You’re fixated on the collection of transistor radios on the wall. Why the hell are there transistor radios in a Japanese restaurant?

After one too many moments spent pondering the merits of a transistor radio collection in a Japanese restaurant, you snap back to reality with a pathetic utterance of “toom.” Your date lets out an awkward laugh to try to cover for you. The hostess sits you down and you’re quick to bring the conversation back in order to prevent any and all awkward silences.

“So what I was really trying to get at is that you can’t possibly look at Taylor Swift’s career and not see Kanye West as a catalyst in her rise to mega stardom.”

She innocently shrugs her head and looks at the menu and you see her eyes light up. You glance down at the menu and feel a wave of stress crash over you. Why the hell are there 11 categories of entrees to chose from? The menu variety is nothing short of Cheesecake-Factory-esque.

There’s a silence.

Then, you break the silence by suggesting “Hey do you wanna just like, share everything?” Big mistake.

She begrudgingly agrees to go along with your painfully forced two-person culinary paint palette. So you take your big ol’ brush and paint a diverse landscape of asparagus beef rolls, lollipop chicken, winter ramen, sea scallop sashimi and barbecued pork shoulder.

umai-1

(Photo by Ben Savage / The DePaulia)

“Don’t you love this pork shoulder thingy? It’s so hard to get that charred flavor without burning the meat to a crisp but man this pork is so tasty,” I said. “You gotta try that roasted garlic aioli with it, too. Ooh yeah those are really good, but I’m not vibing as much on the lollipop chicken. It’s super dry but, like what do you expect? And the ramen’s good, do you like the ramen? It’s so orange though, it freaks me out. It’s like super orange.”

You think you’re killing it, or at the very least, crushing it; but all the woman wanted was a damn dragon roll. All the time you spent fumbling around with your alternative chopstick method and Food Network buzzwords was a huge waste. You missed the point, like Umai itself.

In your polite attempt to try to do everything: you literally ordered the wrong food for your date. You were suckered into the trap of Umai’s expansive yet hit-or-miss menu. Good thing you at least paid at the end.

After your sixth viewing of her snapchat story two days later, she responds to your text from that morning.

“Haha yeah I’m pretty busy but hope to see you soon!”

6/10

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Umai’s big menu has little payoff