I have a special place in my heart for Umami, a distinctive farm-centric restaurant named after that elusive fifth flavor. My admiration for their burgers, hand-cut tempura fries and authentic 19th century farmhouse atmosphere runs deep, and after almost four years of business in the striking town of Northwood, an area with fewer than 150 people per square mile, this rustic spot has gained a well-deserved following.
If there’s one day where the folks of Northwood feel especially grateful for this humble spot, it’s Sunday, or the day where people sleep in without guilt and the line dividing breakfast and lunch fades away. It’s the day when Umami celebrates everyone’s favorite portmanteau: brunch.
The global fusion influence prevalent on Umami’s regular menu makes an all-star showcase on their morning menu, which is offered every Sunday from nine to one. The colorful, constantly changing chalkboard menu is loaded with egg-centric eats, some of which are inspired by other cultures, others by past hangovers.
For a breakfast sandwich like no other, try the Jail Bird, a handheld feast composed of a fried chicken thigh sandwiched between a homemade biscuit with hot maple glaze, bread and butter pickles and arugula. It’s one of those dishes that encompasses every flavor and texture into one harmoniously gluttonous package.
Benedicts are taken to new creative heights here. A unique variation featuring crispy fish cakes, slaw and aioli is sometimes available as a special. Consider yourself very fortunate if it is. The Banh Mi version loads ham, cucumber, carrot, pickled daikon, cilantro and sweet aioli with two locally sourced poached eggs. It’s the ultimate mashup: an American breakfast-inspired version of a French-Vietnamese sandwich.
At the opposite end of the globe, the chimichurri bene layers cheddar, tomatoes and a pair of poached eggs. The package gets draped with a layer of herbaceous Argentinian chimichurri and balsamic gastrique. The substitution of hollandaise for chimichurri results in a benedict that’s relatively light and bracing. Each of Umami’s benedicts are served on an impossibly tender homemade biscuit that soaks up those runny yolks with ease.
Standout sides include cider-cured bacon, smoked ham, Korean-fried chicken and smoked Spanish sausage. The real star is the home fries, which, much like the fries, are tempura-fried and liberally seasoned, resulting in some of the crispiest, most flavorful breakfast potatoes ever.
Not only does the food at Umami go beyond the call of duty, but the cozy farmhouse atmosphere is the perfect backdrop to a relaxing Sunday brunch. Add in live folk music, high quality coffee, tea and breakfast cocktails and an abundance of local art decorating the walls, and it may be difficult to resist spending the full four hours there.
Visit Umami at 284 1st New Hampshire Turnpike in Northwood, NH. Brunch is served on Sunday only, and they are closed on Monday and Tuesday. Curious about the rest of the menu? Check out my first post about Umami here.
Originally published through unconventionaleatsnh.com