I had been hearing tid bits about this new burger joint for a while and these bits were so good that I had to move Umami to the top of the Burger Adventure list. Glad I did!!! But, I got tied up and didn't write up this review immediately after the visit so this is done on pure memory. That only means I'll have to go back for round two. Umami is situated on LaBrea Ave near the stuffed tiger stand. The name, Umami, is a Japanese word for the fifth taste, You can learn a little more about it here: umamiinfo.com. Umami Burger, opened by Bottle Rock founder Adam Fleishman, aims to feature the concept of Umami by way of ridiculously good burgers. As an added bonus it is a BYOB joint for just a small corkage fee. Diners seemed to enjoy this aspect, coming prepared with wine, beer, scotch and other libations. Some started these in the parking lot while waiting for a table - good show there!!
The signature burger is, naturally, the Umami Burger. The ingredients and toppings are not listed on the menu and we couldn't figure out exactly made this up, but it was goood! T
he meat was juicy and perfectly cooked. The bread bun was soft and delicious. As far as the rest of the toppings, I think there was some roasted tomato or pepper, Parmesan or Asiago and probably a few more things in there. Next up for us was the Triple Pork Burger - fresh ground pork spiced with chorizo and cob-smoked bacon, aged manchego and pimento aioli. The meat definitely tasted of pork with just the right amount of chorizo. The aioli and cheese brought the whole package together into a juicy, porky delight. And then...SoCal Burger - butter lettuce, oven dried tomato, spread, house made processed cheese, and caramelized onion. Another success. Very different from the previous burger but equally enjoyable. Once again, all the flavors blended nicely and each bite was a delight. We finished up wanting the MidEast Burger but were extremely disappointed to learn they weren't serving that one, even though it was on the menu. We got talked into the special Scallop Burger. It wasn't a great way to end things after three powerhouse burgers. The "burger" was a blended patty of scallop and had a very thick crust of salt and seasonings on top. It was served open face though I'm not sure why. The salty seasoned crust needed a cover over it to mellow it out and without a cover, each bite was way too salty and dominated the taste. While I was disappointed with the Scallop Burger, the other burgers were some of the best in the city. The sweet potato fries and onion rings with dipping aioli were very good as well. What you read about the service is mostly true so just be prepared to deal.
I'm looking forward to round two a Umami Burger...Stay Tuned!!