BY RICK SCHULTE
Having a one-month old baby? That’s busy. Starting a new restaurant? That’s busy. Experiencing both at the same time? That’s another story.
It’s not enough to deter Evah Xiao, 25, who is quickly establishing an exciting new food choice not only for Grosse Ile residents, but for anyone Downriver looking for a fresh, new Asian dining experience.
Ume Asian Cuisine opened Aug. 2, offering a variety of items including sushi, Hibachi grill selections and Chinese favorites.
“When I emigrated to America, I traveled with them a lot and worked in many places,” she said, mentioning previous stops in Seattle and in California. “I’ve been working in the sushi-restaurant industry, so that made me want to own my own restaurant.”
So with the knowledge she acquired along the way and her family growing, it was time to put down roots.
“I moved on to Grosse Ile because I was amazed by the nice atmosphere,” she said. “The people, the places here, and I had my baby a month ago. So he’s the reason why I want to settle down and have my own restaurant.”
Born in China, Xiao’s restaurant bills itself as offering Japanese-Chinese fusion, and it delivers. Several varieties of fresh sushi are available from which to choose, presented with colorful, visual appeal.
“I think we are the only true Sushi and Chinese, Asian cuisine restaurant in the area,” she said. “That makes us unique.”
The restaurant is especially popular for patrons seeking sushi and hibachi grill items. So far, most of the customers hail from Grosse Ile, with many being especially loyal to the authenticity of the food.
“I’ve seen many lovely faces come back here three or four times a week.” Xiao said.
A recent visit to Ume’s began with a tempura appetizer, consisting of lightly breaded and fried shrimp with broccoli, mushrooms and sweet potatoes. There was also a sampling of several types of sushi — more than 40 different types of rolls are offered, ranging from a traditional California roll to the ambitious Godzilla roll (with several types of fish, eel and caviar). There are even more unique specialty rolls geared toward all types of taste buds.
“I’m a foodie, I like eating foods, and I want to bring those dishes, my favorites, to the restaurant so I can share with them,” Xiao said.
The hibachi menu offers various types of grilled seafood, beef and vegetarian options; the fusion choices are equally diverse. Ume also offers several versions of bubble tea and will soon be acquiring a liquor license as well.
While Xiao spends much of her time in the front of the restaurant, the back of the restaurant — the kitchen — is in safe hands with her father and her husband.
“Working with your family goes both ways,” she said, with a laugh. “Of course, you know they are going to be on time for work. Sometimes, being so young running a business, my dad can be stubborn, but he’s very good. I learned much from him. My family is really supportive; that’s the reason I could open a restaurant.”
Carry-out is available; Ume is also offering catering options of anything on its menu. All that is required is a day or two of advance notice and they can create it.
“I want to be a success,” Xiao said. “We want to be the best sushi restaurant in the Grosse Ile and Trenton area. We want people to know us more and get our name out there and we want to be part of the Downriver community.”
Ume Asian Cuisine is located at 9105 Macomb, just off Meridian. The phone number is (734) 672-6618. Learn more at facebook.com/umeasiancuisine.