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Alamo City Edition: Umai Mi Opens, The Granary Grows Up, and The Brooklynite Praises SACC

[Image: Bethlyn Thornton/EATX]

Jason Dady's new Asian restaurant Umai Mi is now open at 555 West Bitters road, the same location that housed Dady's recently departed Bin 555. Carpenters and contractors were at the restaurant until minutes before the January 17 soft opening. Since Bin 555 closed in late December, the turnaround time was a quick 17 days. Says Dady:

We promised the staff we'd get live action. We pushed all day to get fires lit and cocktails shaking. I'm mostly shocked at how much we did in such a little amount of time. We had a blast and have only grown stronger each day.
Dady's opening menu carries a tagline "So not authentic, it's absurd." Opening menu items included small plates like Sriracha-Kewpie deviled eggs, miso sea bass, and tom kha soup, along with main dishes like jungle curry and a cocktail program including barrel-aged martinis and old fashioneds. Dady says the most popular dishes in week one were the Combination Fried Rice with beef tongue and head cheese, the pork spare ribs with honey and hoisin, and the Kung Pao bacon dates. "People are digging the fresh Thai curry pastes and the Chinese-inspired dishes," Dady says. "We're giving people a lot to choose from."

At the Pearl complex, Tim Rattray told Eater that while he's pleased with the good press and loyal clientele happening at Texas Monthly Top 50 barbecue restaurant The Granary, the restaurant's staff and management are still working to refine their processes. Rattray stated that "one of the surprising aspect of opening our first restaurant is the amount of time and effort required to find, train, and retain quality staff. You have to invest in people and be willing to teach, which is easier said than done!" Rattray continued by saying that his current team is the best staff he's had since opening.

Upcoming food specials include a smoke-braised lamb tortellini, a smoked beef tongue and uni dish, and a grilled strip steak sourced from the famed Flannery Beef in California. The beverage team is also brewing a Black IPA for February and is doing an in-house made chocolate soda for Valentine's Day. Says Rattray of The Granary's first year:

I hear a lot of people talk about opening their own spot; I was one of them. A chef I worked for once told me that there was something to be said for working in a company that provided for you and allowed you to go home without worrying about "ownership" problems. Now I understand what he meant! Every problem that comes up is your problem to fix. There isn't someone else to handle it, at the end of the day the buck stops with you. It's a lot of responsibility and a huge life-adjustment. But everyone is enthusiastic about the product and plates we are creating.
The recently completed San Antonio Cocktail Conference drew raves from James Beard nominee Jeret Pena at The Brooklynite. Pena told Eater:
I thought this year was a huge success. It was busier then last year, with a stronger food element which was brilliant. That made it more of a cultural event. It was nice to see national and regional writers and bloggers coming to San Antonio and experiencing the conference and the city.
The accolades continue for The Brooklynite: the bar recently landed on Southern Living's list of the "100 Best Bars in the South." Pena's bar next special event will be an "Anti-Valentine's" party on 2/14, where he'll debut a new cocktail from Javier Gutierrez titled "The Pillow Talk" (Chamomile-infused pisco, simple, crème de violette, and fresh lime.)
· All San Antonio Coverage [EATX]

The Granary

602 Avenue A, San Antonio, TX 78215