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Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar was recently rated the #2 casino restaurant in the U.S. We're already fans of everything Pechanga so accepting an invitation to dine at this highly ranked establishment was a no brainer! While playing the latest slots, we felt a growing hunger within and soon headed to dinner, ready to relax after gameplay.
The restaurant is located to the right of the hotel check-in area and across the hall from Pechanga's casual coffee shop Blends. We've always passed by on the way to the gaming areas, filled with curiosity, especially because it has this intriquing "jewel" strands along the outer walls.
Inside the restaurant, it was spacious and well lit, with a soft glow of blues and purples tumbling in from the slot machines. We were seated in a side booth, far away from any smoke that might drift in from the gaming area. Next time, I'd love to sit at the bar, watching the sushi chefs work their creative magic.
Our server Miki handed us an IPAD to pick out our drinks. I love how you can scroll through the menu and pictures (similar to Pacifica Del Mar) plus there's a huge selection of spirits available. Our choice of cocktails were eye-catching and whispered sweet nothings to our tastebuds. The Blackberry is more of a "Dennis" kind of drink and he delighted in the light mojito-ness of it. Mine had a little more sweet and sour taste and surprisingly a perfect pinch of mint accent (usually I'm not a mint fan). The price was right too because it was $9 each with additional discounts during cocktail hour (3-5pm).
Hamachi Crudo ($17) - raw yellowtail, watermelon, asian pear, avocado, black salt, local olive oil, chili ponzu
I love a captivating crudo and these hamachi ones were calling my name. The watermelon morsel made for a fine base and the sharp crisp of asian pear wrapped by fresh fish added a simple sweetness. I ate three of the five delicious bites though wouldn't have minded having the whole thing to myself!
Oyster Shooters ($12) - uni, quail egg, ponzu jelly, masago and micro cilantro
These came in sets of threes and used fun sized Kumo oysters, slightly briny and perked up with some beautiful uni! The quail egg easily slipped down the shotglass chute with the help of the ponzu jelly. That jelly was just a bit too salty for our tastes though so I'd prefer without it.
Clam Chowder $8
There's something about clam chowder that makes us want to order it! The bowl was carefully crafted with plenty of clam bits within a thicker, delicious soup. A bonus was the side of crusty sourdough bread, conveniently pre-sliced. Dennis marveled at the fluffiness and he morphed into the bread dipper (which always amuses me).
Sashimi Sampler ($30) - salmon, yellowtail, tuna, shrimp
Sashimi typically comes in sets of five per order but we asked to try a sample platter. This plate had three pieces from four different varieties to fit the bill. The silky salmon was always a favorite, slightly sweet but firm bite of flesh. Likewise, the yellowtail had a milder taste but also feel-good smooth texture in your mouth. The tuna did have a few fibers to it so not as easy to munch as the others. The shrimp were beautifully butterflied and simple. It is not on the menu but feel free to ask for a sampler or just pick your own adventure!
Aloha Roll ($16) - spicy tuna roll, albacore, pineapple relish, sweet honey aioli, macadamia nut
Round rolls are always fun so the Aloha Roll caught our attention. Each piece was minimally sauced, giving direct access to the fish itself. The light honey aioli and pineapple relish were subtle while the nutty macadamia nuts gave it a little uniqueness.
Chilean Sea Bass ($41) - miso marinated, jalapeno pepper, rice and seasonal vegetables
Every time we see Chilean Sea Bass on a menu, we think of our wedding meal! The entree here was softly crisp on the edges and the marinade gave it a sticky sweet tang. I wouldn't have minded some additional for dipping! The fish had its expected buttery flakiness though a few areas were cooked through a little more. The cut was generous though so definitely worth a little splurge if flakey is your kind of fish! The broccoli and brussels sprouts were almost on the raw side so extra time on the pan would suit me more.
Nutella Ice Cream - house made ice cream and almond cookie bites
And... dessert. Who could resist after being tempted with the option of nutella? Creamy and in your face hazelnut goodness met my eager mouth... Springy baked bites with a dazzling toasted sweetness adorned with almond slivers... I will forever be a fan of Pechanga's bakery. We wanted to overdose during their Chocolate Decadence event.
Even though we didn't have any luck on the slots, this dinner was definitely the winner of the day! Our server Miki was charming and sweet, constantly on the lookout to assist us or other diners at the restaurant. I think she was pretty amused by our engaging photo methods as well! Food came out at a pleasant pace and we could tell Chef Kiyokuni Ikeda and his staff put a lot of attention to detail in their food. A few items are on our list for next time. The restaurant is pricier but backed by quality and precision. Let us know if you have a chance to check this place out!
Disclaimer: We were invited to dine here and our meal was complimentary. Drinks were covered at our own expense. We were not otherwise compensated and all opinions stated are our own.
Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar
45000 Pechanga Parkway
Temecula CA 92592