Umami Burger

I thought the hype for this burger place was out of control on the food blogs but standing in front of the restuarnt for just ten minutes and it was clear Umami Burger has a tight hold on the West Coast.  I arrived right around 5:00 opening day and was told there was a 20 minute wait.  As I stood outside every sixty seconds someone would walk by and scream "Umami" or come up to the door and tell the host how much they loved Umami back in was nonstop.  By the time I got seated I was pretty hyped up myself and ready to chow down on some meat.  I went straight with the Original Umami Burger which comes topped with roasted tomato, shitake mushroom, caramelized onion, house ketchup and a Parmesan crisp.

I cut into my burger and the first thing I noticed was the lack of running juices.  Somehow all that wonderful flavor stayed tight inside the slightly charred meat patty, making it incredibly rich and so delicious it would have been amazing on it's own.

The toppings gave it a deep earthy flavor that was pretty intense...there were notes of truffle, honey and was incredibly savory.  The only thing I didn't like was the roasted tomato so I took that off and devoured the rest.

I added on some truffle fries which were okay.  I liked the truffle cheese flavor but they made the otherwise crispy, skinny fries soggy after a minute or two and just weighed me down.  I'd stick with the plain fries next time or add on a Truffle Burger.  The woman next to me ordered one and I almost fell of my bar stool smelling the incredible garlic and butter aromas.

Umami created a bunch of house cocktails just for the Manhattan location and they have a pretty good beer selection as well.  Local brews like the Bronx Summer Ale and Sixpoint Sweet Action dominate the draft list while the bottle selection leans a bit more West Coast.  

When I left the crowd outside was growing and I heard the wait for a table was an hour.  It was only opening day but if I was a gambler I would bet Umami Burger is here to stay.