Location, location, location: Umami Burger
Back in October, I went to the Umami Burger off Cahuenga in Hollywood for my Sweet Potato Fries crawl. It’s my favorite Umami location. I have gone to the one on La Brea and didn’t care for as much. I recently went to the one in Santa Monica for the first time last week. I had some family from out of town and they wanted to try it. After a bit of a wait, we were seated outside. Trying to get ahead of a resolution to eat better, I went with a beet salad and turkey burger (the Greenbird). My cousins split the Umami salad and ordered the Triple Pork and Truffle burgers.
My cousins didn’t like the Umami salad. They had to ask for another thing of dressing which didn’t help much. The peels of vegetables (oh, sorry “shaved”) were pretty useless. I suggested they take some of the truffled ricotta from my plate. Hiding under the wild arugula was a a huge schmear of the stuff. With a surprisingly light truffle dressing, this was a pretty decent salad. I did wish the beets were roasted. They tasted boiled to me.
For a turkey burger, this Greenbird was very juicy. I liked the smashed avocados and the fresh sprouts. But it’s not my favorite burger there. My cousins did really like the pork and truffle burgers. It’s just too bad they didn’t tell us the heat lamps weren’t working when they seated us on the chilly patio. They were also slammed and our salads came at the same time as our burgers and sides. The only side I liked this day were the cheesy tater tots. The sweet potato fries were over-fried and the onion rings were too greasy.
I’m a huge fan of Bloody Marys and this one at Umami Urban was pretty good. The salt rim even tasted a bit like sesame which reminded me of the burgers.
Some people proclaim the truffle burger as their favorite Umami burger. I can see why. It’s juicy, there’s a hint of truffles and every bite is lovingly covered in cheese. Yet, I’ve never ordered one. Actually, it’s rare I order a regular beef burger at Umami.
Although I did try the SoCal burger which people compare it to In N Out’s burger. It is a bit like that, sure. A basic burger with butter lettuce, slow roasted tomato, house spread, American cheese and carmelized onions. All right, maybe it’s not so basic. It’s the archetype of burgers.
So what’s in a location? I hear Umami is opening in the Valley (if you think Studio City is the Valley) and heading up to San Francisco soon. And yet, I know where I want to be returning to- Hollywood where the burgers stellar, there’s booze and most of all, the people are actually nice there.