Friday, January 6, 2012

Day 6: The Umami Burger

Is is the best burger in America? Some would say so - ranging from GQ magazine (who describe it as "half beef and half beyond belief" to Food and Wine to many local and national burger aficionados. Up until several months ago, you could only get an Umami Burger in the Southern California area. But two months ago, Umami burger opened it's first branch outside of LA - in San Francisco.
Tonight, I had the chance to visit Umami, and try their famous burger.

The shop has many types of burgers. And I overheard the bartender say he thought the best burger was a burger not listed on the menu - something have to do with the word Texas in it. But it is a sort of code word. There are 2-3 burgers each night always available "off the menu" - but you have ask for them - a sort of "secret handshake!"

But tonight, I had to try the signature burger so many people have talked about. It is the "Umami" burger.

For the people new to the phrase "umami" - it means the fifth taste - or the taste of savory. Often, items with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or other "savory seasonings" can make a food taste Umami.

The online menu lists their unique salad as the "Japanese Caprese Salad." But since baby heirloom tomatoes are not in season, and instead, you can always find beets - they switched their special salad to the beet, ricotta and arugula truffle salad. Truffle oil on a salad, with crunch things and arugula is one of my favorite things. And this one did not disappoint me. The ricotta was flavored with white truffle oil. And truffle oil was used in the dressing. I really enjoyed the salad.

The Umami Burger, is described as follows:

In general - it was a good burger. And perhaps I had been anticipating this burger for over a year. But it wasn't the best burger I had ever tasted. But it was good.

The burger is a grilled burger. And there is quality in the burger - as tasted by the juicy meat. But it was interesting that if you barely touched the burger with a fork, it crumbled away. I am not sure what that means eactly. Instead of the seasonly sun dried tomatoes, there was a slightly grilled tomato. And when the description mentioned a plural of mushrooms, mine (as shown in the picture) had a dab of a mushroom not much larger than a quarter. I did like the parmesan chip.

Overall the general taste was good. But it didn't blow my socks off.

The "skinny fries" were basic - but delicious and fried just right.

They carried Racer 5 - one of the best beers I think in the USA. The waiters / bartenders were very nice and attentive.
It is a big order to claim you have the best burger in the US. It think the Umami burger is good - but others can give it a run for it's money.

If there is something I may very well go back for, it might be the truffled ricotta and beet salad.

1 comment:

  1. I agree, Rick. I have eaten at several of the restaurants in the chain down here in Los Angeles, and while they do make a great burger, I didn't think it was the best I ever had. And after 20 years of vegetarianism I don't take my burger eating lightly. Next time you're down here I'll take you to a place that makes one of my favorite burgers. They on;y serve it one way but it's so damn good.