Umami Burger

I just happened to be going LA when I decided I wanted to write this blog.  I did a little research on some of the best burgers, then headed west.  Of course I had a couple dozen places that I was told I needed to try, but even a burger eating fool like me needed to draw the line.


Umami burger was my first stop. Umami is Japanese for “delicious taste”  it sometimes is referred to as "fifth taste."  My buddy and I walked in expecting a crowd, but our 11:22am timing could not have been better. The restaurant had a great modern feel to it, and the location was quite small. The menu had some great creations, but I knew I had to order the Umami Burger, their signature burger.

The waitress “told” us that our burgers would be cooked medium-rare, so I didn’t argue. Ten minutes later, our burgers were in front of us. At first glance, I liked what I saw: simple presentation, beautiful bun, juicy looking burger, and a Parmigiano crisp sticking out from underneath.  No, I did not order the triple-cooked, hand-cut fries (smacking myself now).  I simply got a side of the roasted garlic aioli while my buddy ordered a side of the jalapeño ranch, both tasting as you’d expect.

Before going to town on the burger, I took a closer look at what was considered to be "the burger I will crave."  Under the Portuguese branded bun was the following: caramelized onions, oven-roasted tomatoes, a shiitake mushroom, Parmigiano crisp, and their house made ketchup. The meat is ground and formed in-house, and judging by the amount of juice, I would say their meat-to-fat ratio is right on. While I’m sure they use a certain process and type of meat, I didn't much care about the method because to me, it had the perfect amount of meat and fat.  The Umami burger was a beautiful thing, but I would have to say my favorite part was the way it was served. It wasn't served with half of the bun pathetically lying there as if to say, “Take off what you will.” It came to the table finished, telling you, "It should be done this way."

The look of this burger reflected the way it tasted. The meat was perfectly seasoned, and the flawless toasted bun only added to it. The essence of this burger was easily in the Umami toppings. As I noted before, these weren't just your generic toppings; there was a thought process behind this burger. You didn’t taste each element individually; the flavors melded perfectly, not one dominating the other.