After spending almost two weeks in New York over Christmas we realized, on our next to last day, that we had one big, gaping hole in the things we had wanted to eat while we were there. Somehow, oddly, we had never had a hamburger.
When a place gets so much hype, it’s usually hard to live up to expectations. Ever since opening in LA in 2009, and going on to open about a dozen other locations, this burger chain has gotten tons of positive press. The concept behind their burgers is, besides focusing on quality, to frame that elusive fifth taste – umami – between two buns. They combine things like cheese, soy and mushrooms to capture the mouthwatering sensation of umami.
Since I never get to LA, I was very happy that they finally landed in New York.
They usually have about 9 different burgers on the menu, but I went straight for the classic Umami Burger. The burger itself is made from house ground beef, then infused with something they call ‘umami master sauce.’ The toppings on all the burgers are orchestrated and paired carefully and are designed to enhance the umaminess (and can’t be substitued). My burger came with shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp and umami ketchup. It was, in a word, perfect. Very meaty tasting with the various toppings combining to make it completely unique.
Domenico instead got the Hatch Burger. Four kinds of green chilies and cheese. The perfect combination of slightly spicy and rich gooeyness, atop meat.
The sides were a complete surprise and as good as the main event. Truffle fries. Thin, crispy perfectly cooked fries topped with truffle cheese and truffle salt. I could easily eat them every day. And the Umami Caesar, made of a combo of kale and lettuce with tons of lemon zest and, of course, some special umami caesar dressing, was the most sinful tasting salad I’ve ever had.
And to share, the House Pickle Plate, which included five different house made, seasonal pickles. The spicy okra were perfect as an appetizer while we were waiting, and the slow roasted balsamic red onions went with just about everything.
Umami Burger, Greenwich Village
432 Sixth Avenue