Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tasting Through Umami Burger's Core Menu

Umami Burger may have a new burger each season like the vegetarian caprese burger last year, but at the heart of it are their core burger menu. To bring back the focus on this core menu, Umami Burger on Broadway in downtown recently invited bloggers for a tasting menu of the core burgers, paired with a variety of drinks (remember, the Broadway location has a full bar since it used to be Umamicatessen). Nine courses, all paired with a beverage.

To start with were the sweet potato fries and onion rings, along with the "secret menu item", cheesy tots. The tots are made with potatoes rolled in parmesan and cheddar, then covered with panko crust.

Umami Burger
The appetizers were paired real sugar Mountain Dew to balance out the salt. The cheesy tots, as you can imagine, were everyone's favorites and were gone in seconds.

Course 2: Truffle Burger (housemade truffle fondue, truffle glaze, truffle salt, truffle aioli)
Umami Burger
So much truffle needs to be paired with a big, robust beer, and Umami chose the Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout. It's been a while since I had Umami Burger and they still had that nicely cooked patty - pink in the middle - and the iconic griddled Portugese-style bun. Yep, still good.

Course 3: Manly Burger (bacon lardons, beer cheddar fondue, smoked salt onion strings, umami ketchup, mustard spread)
Manly Burger

A messy burger, but definitely worth getting your hands dirty! I love the cocktail that this was paired with as well:  Maple Bacon Old Fashioned (bacon-washed Evan Williams, maple syrup, orange bitters, garnished with house-made candied bacon). Because bacon.
I had this before when the location was Umamicatessen but I didn't realize they kept the cocktails here. This was better than I remembered. It's a great, well balanced Old Fashioned to begin with, and the candied bacon just made it that much better.

Course 4: Ahi Tuna Burger (seared ahi patty, daikon sprouts, crushed avocado, gingered carrots, wasabi flake, wasabi tartar)
Pairing: Victory Golden Monkey (Belgian style tripel, herbal and fruity notes, slight spice)
Umami Burger

This was actually my first time having their tuna burger, and I quite liked it. It's only lightly seared on the outside and the combination with avocado and wasabi is reminiscent of tuna tartar.

Course 5: Hatch Burger (roasted hatch chiles, house Cali cheese, roasted garlic aioli)
Umami Burger
This burger is many people's favorite burger. You can't go wrong with hatch chiles! It wasn't too spicy either with the creamy cheese tempering the extra kick of the chiles.

Paired with: Blackberry Swizzle (Old Rittenhouse Rye, Benedictine, mint, fresh blackberries, lemon, topped with ginger beer)
Umami Burger

Course 6: Greenbird (turkey patty, crushed avocado, green cheese, butter lettuce, sprouts, green goddess)
Paired with: 2013 Laurenz Gruner Veltliner (apple, peach, citrus aroma with a touch of pepper)
Umami Burger
I like the Greenbird burger a lot. Sure, it's a healthier patty but I don't particularly care about that aspect. To me it's the combination of avocado and green goddess dressing (of which I was always a fan of) that makes it special. If you are looking for turkey burgers, though, this is one of the top.

Course 7: Cali Burger (butter lettuce, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, house spread, house Cali cheese)
Umami Burger
These toppings are more what I usually look for in a burger: lettuce and tomato. Here, instead of the crispness of fresh tomatoes, we get a more savory (more umami), rich touch from roasted tomato.

Pairing: Spicy Mezcalrita (Lunazul Blanco tequila, PAMA pomegranate liqueur infused with cucumber and serrano peppers, citrus, topped with Xicaru mezcal and Cointreau foam)
Umami Burger

Course 8: Throwback Burger (two 3.5 oz seared beef patties, white cheddar, miso mustard, Umami house ketchup, soy pickles, minced onion)
Paired with real sugar Pepsi

Finally, we come to their signature burger.
Course 9: Umami Burger (parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, Umami house ketchup)
Paired with: 2013 Seghesio Zinfandel (aromas of red cherries, vanilla)

This burger tries to maximize that umami flavor from all the ingredients. They had chosen parmesan as the cheese for that reason, but parmesan doesn't really melt so you can't make a normal cheeseburger, so they decided to make a crisp out of it, which added a nice textural contrast as well.

I try a looot of new restaurants in LA and rarely return to old ones that often, but there's a reason Umami Burger became as successful as they did, and I'm glad they reminded me why with this epic burger tasting.

Umami Burger
852 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 413-8626
Umami Burger on Urbanspoon


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