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Ümami Café – – Dare I go?

325 South Riverside Avenue
Croton-On-Hudson, NY  10520

Hours: Open all days for dinner
Monday through Thursday 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Sundays 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm


“Hi, my name is Dana, and I’ll be your waitress tonight.”  At first I cringed hearing that phrase which absolutely drives me nuts.  My thought bubble then scripts, “Of course you’re our waitress, arrrgh….”  However, Dana turned out to be friendly with a great smile and a fun sense of humor.  She was especially funny as we joked about the appetizer (Crabby Patties) – – don’t ever order them, but that’s another story.  Dana is a refreshing switch from two other people on the wait staff who actually make me think twice about dining at Ümami. 

Well, I’ve decided to out them.  Stay away from the likes of Raffi and Sarah

Good! Now I feel better.

Raffi is reminiscent of Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi character.  Upon my last visit, we barely were seated when he came to the table with his snarled unsmiling face and said (not asked) that he was ready to take our order.  HE is ready?  He was quickly informed that WE were not ready as we hadn’t even had a chance to open the menus. 

When your order arrives, Raffi will not place your plate in front of you.  He will drop it onto the table as if you were in some Oliver-esque orphanage and as if you’re being fed slop. You better not dare say, “Please sir, more?”  This is where the Raffi-nazi steps in. 

Upon my last visit, we ordered the chocolate lava cake which was beautifully warmed with vanilla ice-cream sitting on top beginning to melt and cascade down the sides giving you the impression of a miniature Devil’s Tower.  The dessert needed one thing to round it out for me – – fresh mint.  “Excuse me, may I please get a little mint?”

“Mint!?  I don’t have mint.”

“I’m sure the kitchen might have some mint, could you check for us?”

“They don’t have it.”

“Could you please check?  I’d appreciate it”

Raffi, gave me a look that read, “If I knew you were going to ask for mint, I would have spit on your chocolate lava cake before giving it to you.”

He marched off – – a couple of minutes later I heard a slam to my right side.  Raffi had roughly slammed the glass with sprigs of mint (still with stems and even some roots) in a glass.

This nasty soul wasn’t going to get me down.  I picked the leaves and tore them in chiffonade fashion over my dessert.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not using this one example to paint Raffi as the nightmare he is – – there are previous experiences AND complaints about him from others I know who have had the pleasure of his making his acquaintance.  Raffi needs to go.

Have you met Sarah?

One of the best experiences at Ümami is immediately receiving the bowl of handmade freshly deep-fried salty chips as soon as you are seated.  They are wonderful! 

If you have the privilege of meeting Sarah, you’ll have to ask, or perhaps beg for your little plastic bowl of chips.  In addition it will take Sarah forever to bring them to you.  Once she has taken your order, she is done with you.  There is never any follow-up, you have to constantly wave her down for anything you might need. 

Socializing is big on Sarah’s agenda.  However, If you’d like to engage her, just say, “I love your accent, where are you from? England?”  Be careful what you ask for.. you might get it… The ENTIRE history of Sarah, just short of baby photos.  I’ve heard it over several visits across many tables.  So much so that I want to loudly say across the dining room, “Excuse me, I KNOW you’re from England and the reason you’re here in our country (you’ll have to ask to find out for yourself), but can we get the wine list?”  I can’t go on about Sarah anymore, it gives me a knot in my stomach.


Ümami is a lovely place with an interesting menu.  Craig Purdy, the owner, has a lot invested here – – I’m surprised an investment in hiring bright shiny happy people isn’t part of the business plan.  It truly makes me pause and wonder if I’m up for the battle before going there.

Dana?  Haven’t seen her in awhile.  Ümami needs more people like her.  If you see her, please say, “Hello.”


  1. Chris –

    Thanks very much for your comments.

    Westchester Eats is new and although there are links which are yet to be populated, it is a work in progress–sorry if that disappoints. It will flesh itself out over a short period of time– and comments like yours help us to improve our mission.

    Restaurants open for business to the public, kinks and all. It’s in our best interest that restaurants be amazing experiences for everyone to enjoy. Therefore, I believe, it should be incumbent upon all of us to offer feedback to the owners who have invested so much. That’s why I try to point out, especially when a place is new, that it might need our feedback.

    Feedback is vital… whether it’s from you pointing out things Westchester Eats needs to work on, or from restaurant patrons, who want a local eatery to be at its best.

    Thanks again for your comments, and please continue to use Westchester Eats as a place to voice your opinions.

    Thank you.

    Thursday, August 31, 2006 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  2. spongebob wrote:

    I myself like the crabbie patties…..and sarah was very pleasant. dana was loud and at my table to much

    Monday, September 25, 2006 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  3. Sir eats Alot wrote:

    Just ate at Umami recently. Enjoyed the different flavors and the place is quirky and I liked that. i didn’t have Dana however but my waitress was very knowledgable and pleasant. The food took a little long to come out but the manager came right over and pacified us with a glass of wine and an apologetic word.

    Tuesday, October 10, 2006 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  4. umami SUCKS!!!!! wrote:

    I absolutely hate Umami restaurant in croton-on-hudson!!! I got something to go and they just handed me the container with no napkin,fork, or even a paper bag. Not to mention they gave me the smallest amount of macoroni and cheese and over charged me! The people who work there are not friendly and I would not suggest eating there!

    Thursday, February 15, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  5. Curious about your experience… Did you let them know? If so, what type of response did you get? Thanks for the feedback.

    Friday, February 16, 2007 at 7:38 pm | Permalink
  6. Johnston wrote:

    To Sir eats Alot: anyone who uses the word quirky doesn’t know what quirky means and you shouldn’t be eating here. you probably buy your furntiure from raymour and flanigan. just leave us good looking people alone.

    And to Umami Sucks – they don’t give out bags because people like you will just throw them in the trash. you don’t need a bag. and dont you have utensils at home? i bet you through out plastic containers, too. Also – I didn’t believe you hated Umami untl the 5th exclamation point. The first few I thought were just playful. But then the next one, well, i knew you were upset. Go eat at Pizzeria Uno you tub of butterfat.

    Thursday, March 22, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink
  7. Sir eats alot wrote:

    Oh and by the way Umami Sucks…..I just went on their website, mac and cheese is $5.00…..that’s over priced??????

    Friday, March 23, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  8. yum police wrote:

    johnston needs to work on his manners. in response to “umami sucks” was that your first time there? did you complain?

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007 at 9:20 am | Permalink
  9. some advice wrote:

    how about updating your reviews??

    Monday, May 7, 2007 at 12:59 pm | Permalink
  10. We update our reviews on previously reviewed restaurants when possible. There is so much to see and taste in Westchester!

    However, we love when our readers contribute their ideas and thoughts about a place here… Go for it! What are your thoughts about Umami? Other places?

    This is a forum for open dialogue. 🙂

    Monday, May 7, 2007 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  11. Susan Dorien wrote:

    Umami is great and anyone who doesn’t think so can eat somewhere else. Leave the cool places to the cool people.

    Friday, May 18, 2007 at 11:55 am | Permalink

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