Sunday, April 03, 2011

Foodgasm - Umami Burger

Umami Burger in Hollywood

I’ve been on a diet for a few weeks now. It’s called slow carb, and it works like magic. I’m feeling better every day and losing weight too. I get on cheat day once a week. I don’t stray too far from the diet, but I like to try something new when I get the chance.

I was shopping for photography books at Hennessey + Ingalls on Saturday. Umami Burger was the next shop over in the Space 15Twenty complex of trendy businesses.

We took a seat on the couch and waited for our Umami burgers to arrive. My wife ordered onion rings to accompany here meal while I ordered the pickle tray. We had no idea what we were in for. I guess the presence of hipsters and some minor Hollywood celebrities should have tipped us off.


We were hungry and wanted a quick burger. We ended up having a foodgasm instead. I was so hungry that I did not even take a photo of the food. How do I know we had a foodgasm? Back in 2004 my good friend Richard and I had a foodgasm while eating at Le Grand Véfour in Paris. I captured his expression on film. I saw that same look on my wife’s face when she bit into her burger. A moment later my eyes rolled back in my head as I sighed contentedly. The umami burger is one of the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.

Do you want to see what a umami burger looks like? There are plenty of photos at the Umami Flickr group.

The prices…

  • Umami Burger $10
  • Onion Rings $3
  • Pickles $5
  • Ice Tea $2.5

We spent $33 not counting tip. Which puts it in the low end of the pricy category for a lunch.

Portion size is small. This would not be a place I take my volume eater friends (Kenny – I’m talking about you). The burger is smallish (smaller than a quarter pounder), and the sides are also small. The price does not correlate to quantity, but I think it correlates to quality. I was not hungry when I left, despite only eating one burger and a few pickles. Just to put things in perspective, I paid $16 for a burger, a pickle, and a glass of iced tea.

The onion rings were good, except for a small quality problem. They left the inedible onion skin on our batch. It’s a little embarrassing when you need to pull a 5 inch piece of onion skin out of your mouth. Of course, I ate around it. The serving size is small. Expect only 3 or 4 large rings per order.

The pickle platter was amazing and delicious. It contained just about everything you can pickle. I tried my first pickled tomato (not so good), and my first pickled okra (wow!). Plus peppers and pickles of various varieties.

I’d give medium marks to the staff. Our waiter was a bit of a dork, which made the meal awkward. I don’t know why he stood there waiting for us to decided what to eat after we told him we needed a few minutes. We actually had to tell him to leave. How often does that happen?

Umami-CoupleThe place was packed with people. I enjoyed the people watching almost as much as the meal. The two hipsters in the photo at the top of this article game me no end of laughs with their inane conversation. The couple before them (on the the right) were practically making love to their food. It was hilarious.

The shot to the right shows the food lovers discovering that fellow Foursquare user Mojoey has checked in and was sitting right across the table from them. He was one of six people who checked in during our visit.

I saw a financial reporter from CNN in the crowd. My wife saw a minor actress. The place was full of trendy people and hipsters. My son Jon would have hated it.

Yelp has Umami Burger at 3.5 stars. I’d have to agree. With the quality problems and odd staff, the overall experience was not perfect. But the burgers were worth it.

I recommend Umami Burger. The food is great. Enjoy your foodgasm.