Umi Seafood Market

Fans of Umi Sushi restaurants in Jacksonville, Ashland and Grants Pass will welcome a new seafood market in Medford that offers a small selection of takeout and an array of top-quality raw ingredients for home cooks.

Umi Seafood Market, 1590 Delta Waters Road, No. 100, sells the same fish, much of it flown in from Alaska and Hawaii, that owner Kjae Nam serves at his growing network of restaurants.

The first Umi Sushi restaurant opened in early 2012 in a reconstruction of the historic Beekman's Express at 100 E. California St., Jacksonville. The Grants Pass location opened about a year later at 941 S.E. Seventh St., and last summer, Ashland's outpost opened in the former Hana Sushi location on the Plaza at 29 N. Main St.

Nam and his employees proudly point out that deliveries come in at the new market on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to ensure freshness.

When my husband and I stopped in, the glass case at the front of the store was stocked with gleaming slabs of ahi tuna, thick salmon fillets, slivers of rich salmon belly meat, trays of cooked and raw shrimp, plump scallops and a mound of live oysters.

Prices and quality are higher than you will see in chain grocery stores, but fairly comparable with other Rogue Valley seafood markets such as The Wharf, Rogue Valley Fresh Seafood Co. and The Butcher Shop.

Umi's market also offers a selection of Asian specialty items, including inexpensive genmaicha tea, Kewpie mayonnaise and Sriracha for your authentic spicy tuna roll, imported sauces, and mochi ice cream treats in the frozen-foods section.

If you aren't up to rolling your own maki or are feeling a little intimidated by the thought you might ruin $20 of that beautiful tuna and end up eating a microwave meal, grab the takeout menu.

The young woman behind the counter cautioned that she was only preparing salmon and tuna nigiri the day we were there, but as those are favorites of mine, we decided to get a seven-piece combo featuring just that along with a California roll for $16. She also recommended some of the premium rolls featuring tempura shrimp, but my husband doesn't like his sushi fried.

Umi in Jacksonville serves some of the best tempura I've had around here, so I trust that those would be fine choices for fans of crunchy rolls.

We opted for a rainbow roll, essentially a premium California roll prepared with real crab, then draped in salmon, tuna and avocado. All the premium rolls cost $10.

Our sushi order was tucked in to-go boxes along with ample amounts of pickled ginger, a mound of wasabi and containers of soy sauce that ensured we would have all the condiments to consume our meal at home.

Each delicate piece of sushi was perfectly formed and not too big, just the way I like it.

We also got an order of kimchee made at the market by Nam's wife. Fresh and lightly spicy, it was tasty but seemed slightly expensive at $4.50 for a small plastic container.

To round out our shopping experience, we bought about a pound of shrimp for $12.35 a pound for dinner later. Sauteed with garlic in olive oil and just a bit of butter, the succulent shrimp — sweet and a little briny — were delicious tossed with pasta and broiled asparagus. And enough shrimp were left to make a salad with spinach and a mix of citrus — grapefruit, blood orange and orange — the next day.

I'm happy to add Umi Seafood to my shopping and takeout list.

Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Call 541-200-6295.

— Anita Burke

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