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Umami Burger
May 31st, 2012 by Joemoney

2 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 102 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10
(2 votes, average: 8.50 out of 10)
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Umami Burger
www.umami.com/umami-burger

The Essence of Pure Flavour –

A while back, a friend of mine moved to Los Angeles. I’ve promised to visit whenever I got the chance and so far the closest I have ever come was San Francisco, which after a few texts to meet up I realized is not very close to LA. Among her many tales of improv comedy and LL Cool J sightings was mention of a truly unique burger. On my way back from skiing in Salt Lake City, I had a fortunate three hour layover at LAX. That seemed like enough time to have a Burger Tyme. Within minutes of landing, she picked us up, and we were on our way to try Umami Burger. I had heard many great things about this place and was excited to finally try it out. We were headed to the Hermosa Beach location which means on this first visit to southern California, I’d also get to see the beach!

When we arrived at around 6pm, this place was already packed. Our server showed us to our table and began explaining what Umami was all about. According to here and confirmed by the website Umami is the “pleasant and savory taste imparted by glutamate”. Um, OK. My interpretation, it is the indescribable sensation of flavor… or mushrooms… I’m not sure which. With that in mind, the menu seems almost genius. Every ingredient seemed to have an element of caramelized this, roasted that, or truffled something which invoked flavor sensations of some of my favorite burgers. Add to it the sights and smells of the “U” branded burgers being dished out, and I was ready to crane kick the nearest Cobra Kai who tried to get in between me and this Burger Tyme.

Honor to Your Burger –

I placed my order for the Umami Burger thinking it would offer the best example of the umami concept. Toppings include shitake mushrooms, roasted tomato, caramelized onions, a parmesan ‘crisp’, and umami ketchup. I also could not resist the special of the day umami tater tots and, being from Louisiana, an Abita root beer. Once our order was in, the waitress served us some of the house made condiments and revealed to us that her favorite burger was Ray’s Hell Burger in DC. I found it slightly odd that Umami wasn’t her favorite but I made a mental note to give it a try next time I’m there anyway.

The wait seemed longer than it was given how hungry I’d become but I was soon presented with an inspiring burger. The buns alone looked delicious enough to fill up on. Visually this was a very well executed burger. The sear on the patty with the deep colors of the roasted veggies (and fungis?) combined with the Saturn ring of parmesan made me slightly reluctant to disturb it… but only slightly. I took my first bite and the flavor (there’s that word again) was amazing. It was sweet, savory, meaty, and had great texture. The bun was as good as it looked, pillowy, chewy, and slightly sweet. The ‘crisp’ of parmesan gave it a nice crunch. The patty was thick and perfectly cooked to medium rare. I loved it. The tater tots were not so inspiring. They looked amazing but had the texture of warm play dough. They supposedly were stuffed with cheese but other than a few cheese colored specks were just deep fried starch balls that were not very good.

The Wrap It Up –

Once our meal was over, we walked to the beach for a brief view of the Pacific Ocean, and then it was back to the airport. The visit was short and bittersweet. Oh Umami… You’ve teased me. Now I am thousands of miles away without any chance in the foreseeable future to have another. Word is that they are on the verge of expanding to other locales than LA. I would love that. This is a pricey meal, $20 when it is all said and done, but this is a unique, original burger that I would gladly pay for. Again and again!


Comments

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2 Responses  
  • Harold J. Forbes writes:
    May 22nd, 201312:22 pmat

    Last week I had the original Umami burger at their location in Anaheim and WOW! This was one heck of a burger. As noted this was pretty pricey for a burger, but it was probably one of the best burgers I have ever eaten. All the components of the burger worked perfectly together and the patty was cooked just right. I opted for the fries and I thought they were excellent and their house ketchup made a nice touch. I don’t get out to SoCal often, but I will definitely make Umami a required stop the next time I am there.

  • Burger Tyme - Hodad's | Burger Tyme writes:
    May 22nd, 201312:43 pmat

    […] guest post? Having already sampled the SoCal classic In-N-Out Burger and the gourmet up-and-comer Umami Burger as part of my travels, I decided it was time to seek out new territory for my fellow burger addicts […]


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