Umami Burger

Chances are by now we have all seen articles, cookbooks and even Kikkoman soy sauce ads on TV touting the qualities of Umami, but Umami Burger in Los Angeles is the first restaurant I’ve been to that is named after it.

Umami is a difficult concept to grasp, but it’s most simply described as the fifth taste after sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami is associated with flavors that are savory and earthy such as mushrooms and aged cheese. Foods that are rich in umami also tend to enhance the flavors of other foods.

Umami Burger plays on this idea of using certain flavors to enhance others and as a result, each burger on the menu has been specifically designed with that in mind. The best example of this comes from the namesake umami burger which features ground beef topped with oven roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, a thick shiitake mushroom, crisp parmesan cheese and a house made ketchup that is undoubtedly loaded with umami rich ingredients such as soy sauce. Simply put, this is hands down one of the best burgers I've ever eaten. The layers of flavor were deep and complex and depending on which ingredients came with each bite, the flavors seemed to keep changing.

The menu features other tasty combinations such as a rich port and stilton burger, a fragrant truffle burger, a pork burger laced with Chinese 5 spice, aged Manchego and tomato marmalade and a green chile burger.

The house made pickle platter is a fantastic accompaniment to the burgers and features a variety of 6 or 7 different pickles. Mine included zesty hearts of palm, tart, yellow cape gooseberries, a perfectly sweetened, large diced relish, kimchi pickles and some extremely tart, thin pickle slices. I was disappointed when I noticed that other tables had also received pickled carrots on their platters, which had been left off of mine, but I was quickly distracted once my luscious umami burger was placed in front of me.

Umami Burger is a simple, small restaurant that features burgers with huge flavors.

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