Yoshi and Atsuko Yoshida run one of the calmest, most unassuming Japanese restaurants in the county: on the East end of Fourth Street.
One element that makes this place so appealing is the fact that the couple are dedicated to using organic ingredients as much as possible in their traditional Japanese dishes.
Among this restaurant’s cooked foods is Atsuko Yoshida’s hand made udon. The thick, slippery noodles have a sweetly irregular shape. When you pull them out of their bowl of dashi-spiked broth they stretch out to an eye-widening length.
Yoshi Yoshida believes his wife’s udon are, to his knowledge, the only organic, home made version in Marin.
With their warm, toothsome chew and mild, satisfying flavor, this Japanese pasta is like eating a hand-loomed, un-dyed wool sweater with a loose, comfy weave.
Ume Sushi’s bowls of udon and broth come with a choice of four different toppings: Chicken ($11), Kanchin with miso broth and mixed vegetables ($11), with ribeye steak and green onion ($12) or Kakiage, with tempura vegetable fritter and two tempura shrimp ($12). At lunchtime, the Kakiage is available as a special ($9), served with house made pickled vegetables and a tiny bowl of green beans in sesame dressing.
I love the Kakiage. The gauzy, crunchy tempura crust dissolves in and slowly thickens the broth, while the snippets of vegetable and shrimp underneath it add more depth to the experience of eating udon. A bowl of these calls to mind the splendid Japanese comedy feature “Tampopo,” from the 1980s, in which a female Japanese noodle chef finds fame through perfecting her culinary craft.
Umi Sushi is at 819 Fourth St., 457-3992, www.umi-sushi.net. It’s open for lunch, Monday to Friday, 11:0 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. and dinner Monday to Saturday, 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Contact Leslie Harlib at firstname.lastname@example.org.