Trying to describe umami is like trying to explain how a punch in the face feels. The concept of umami is somewhat abstract until you taste it and then BOOM, it hits you.
“Think savory, aged cheese, shrimp paste, fermented fish, mushrooms.” It’s the fifth flavor, after sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. After explaining it, I always get the same puzzled looks.
Instead of punching my friends in the face, thankfully I can now simply direct umami-wanderers to the black cod dish at Fremont’s seafood-centric restaurant, RockCreek.
RockCreek gets their black cod from locals’ favorite surf spot, Neah Bay. Topped with caramelized shallots and Provencal herbs, the rich white flesh majestically wades in a broth comprised of sherry and lime that is so good it should be patented and bottled. The broth is also one of the best ways to understand what umami means. The dish is so popular our server informed us they often run out. This brought out my competitive streak as I was about to put in my order, only to see other diners ordering the same dish.
Executive Chef/Owner Eric Donnelly switches up the menu, depending on what’s in season. For instance, during the narrow window of spot shrimp season in July and August, Donnelly walked over from the kitchen to show me the live crustaceans that were about to be sacrificed for my sins.
In addition to treasures from the sea, the ~2 month old restaurant has got your back with the other senses lurking in your palate. So don’t gut bomb yourself on the savory dishes, although it is tempting (hello, razor clam stew with sweet corn), because the desserts are not an afterthought at RockCreek. Doughy beignets, key lime pie, and peach shortcake await.