Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Umami Burger

I’m posting out of order, but here we go: for Dessert Zombie’s birthday, he chose Umami Burger. Is it worth the wait? Does it live up to the hype?!

Read on to find out…

We arrived fairly early and didn’t have to wait much, except for each other. The one downside that we quickly noted was how poorly run the system for leaving your name was: the girl initially wasn’t taking names, to our annoyance, while we waited – there were empty tables, but they wouldn’t seat us. That’s standard practice, but at least take our names so that if a line forms, we’re at the head of it! (And before you ask why she’d take names if there was no line: she began doing just that about 10 minutes later, but didn’t tell anyone.) Oh well.


Nearly as soon as we sat down, sauces arrived in ‘tasting spoons’ (or Chinese soup spoons). House ketchup, garlic aioli, diablo sauce, and truffle mayo. (I may have mixed up which is aioli and which is mayo, but you get the gist.) We took turns sampling these – the garlic stood out as my preferred one, with a very sharp garlic taste to it.

After a lot of menu discussion, we ordered nearly all the sides but not nearly all the burgers (there were 5 of us).

Somehow I didn’t take a pic of Mr. M&P’s smushed potatoes, which were actually quite tasty – though the name misled us all and we expected something more like mashed potatoes.


Hungry ordered the tempura onion rings. They were HUGE. It looked like more batter than onion; she offered me but there was such a limited amount and I was staring at my own burger plus side that I declined. The others seemed to like them!


BFF ordered the sweet potato fries, which were crisp and salty sweet. I only had a few though as I was staring at my own side, which was…


THE MANLY FRIES. Topped with beer-cheddar, bacon, and onion strings, these were AWESOME. I love shoestring fries, and these were fried to crisp, happy perfection. Almost nothing I love better than a fry that’s in that happy place… topped with some liquid cheese and bacon, YES PLEASE! The onion strings were a nice touch as well – I thoroughly enjoyed my side of MANLY FRIES (you have to say it like Carl’s Jr. on Idiocracy says MEGA BACON BURGER). YUM.


For my first-ever Umami Burger, I went with the Original: parmesan crisp, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and house ketchup ($12). Honestly? This was a good burger. Tasty, a good sear, cooked to medium rare, and lots of flavor… the one fairly major negative here was the overall texture. This is a soft burger. I’m not big on lettuce on my burgers but something crunchy would have gone a long way to balance all the softness of the sandwich. If you’re thinking “What about the parmesan crisp?” I would guess you haven’t had frico in the past: they soften very easily and are not really “crisp” by the traditional meaning of the word (or otherwise, really). So while the flavors were pretty good, it just needed something to balance, some sort of textural contrast to keep my palate interested. Ah well – great taste, but the texture was severely lacking.


You can’t take Dessert Zombie out for dinner without expecting dessert! This is mine – the dessert menu rotates frequently, this was something salted caramel except that I really didn’t like it. It was gooey sweet and just didn’t do it for me… I poked at it, ate a bite or two, then handed it to my twin, who stuffed the whole thing in his mouth (I have pics! – not going to post them) and finished it up. Ice cream king!


Ice cream donuts – yeah, man!!! – I didn’t try them but I heard extremely negative things from all those who did. Someone likened them to eating mooncakes. I like mooncake, but only a small bit at a time. Not a whole one.

Dessert was all around so disappointing that we walked over to Big Gay Ice Cream to finish the night with more ice cream. GOOD ice cream.

Happy belated birthday, DZ!!! Hope you enjoyed our super fun night!

Yvo says: Manly fries: YES PLEASE. DZ and Mr. M&P seemed to enjoy their manly burgers as well, with minor complaints. I wouldn’t wait for a table here – if I had to wait more than 10-15 minutes, I’d wander away and eat somewhere else. However, for the wait we had, and the food we got… sure, it’s fine. Oh, it’s a little on the more expensive side – a burger and a side will run you a little under $20 before tax and tip – but not outrageously so, given the quality. Basically: if there’s wait, I’ll keep walking. No wait? No problem!
middle of the road

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5 Responses to “Umami Burger”
  1. Dessert Zombie says:

    Would not have stuck around if wait was forever. Food was average overall. I enjoyed the burger patty with the bacon stuffed into it. Fries were too thin to my liking with the manly toppings. Donut ice cream sandwich was a big fail. Hungry agreed with my mooncake assessment. Wasn’t very good and wasn’t very fresh since the while thing was frozen. Great time out with everyone nonetheless. Thanks peeps.

    Dessert before dinner too. Yeaaaaa mannnnnn.

  2. hungry says:

    I didn’t think the burger was bad per se but didn’t think it deserved the raves it was getting. The cheese was my biggest complaint. When I want a cheeseburger, I want to be able to taste the cheese and the parmesan crisp just didn’t do it.

    The onion rings were, like you said, more batter than onion. It’s a pass for next time.

    And the worst was the hostess service. She sucked and made an excuse when we complained why they didn’t take our names before. She basically lied to us. Something about the system not working? Whatever.

    Our waiter was nice though.

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