I've heard about Umami for a while now. But being the Skinny Critic, burger joints are not places I frequent. I figured it'd been long enough and I needed to see for myself if Umami was all that it was made out to be. There are 3 locations and I arrived with 3 friends around 6pm on a warm Sunday night to the one well hidden on Cahuenga in Hollywood.
I was anticipating a long wait, but to my delight most of the tables were empty. We choose a spot and begun to study the short and narrow menu. They have several cocktails-all quite unique, like a Cherry Coke with grenadine, a cucumber margarita and and Apple flavored cocktail that tasted more like candy than a drink. All they have is burgers, and frankly if you don't want a burger I don't know why you'd come here. There are about 6 different burgers on the menu and a few specials everyday.
The "Kombu" meals are ridiculously reasonable and come with burger, a alcoholic beverage and a side of fries or onion rings all for $17 or less. Super cheap for LA. The only problem is there are no substitutions...whatsoever. So if you want kombo meal #1 that comes with the Umami Burger, side of fires and a nakhon beer BUT you want sweet potato fries instead of regular fries, you are sol.
Kombo #2 ended up working out quite well for me. It included the pork and stilton burger (a burger with port caramelized onions and blue cheese), a side of sweet potato fries and a glass of carmenere red wine.
Presentation is obviously quite simple. And the burger wasn't nearly as big as I expected it to be. It was a perfect size. The other burger I tried was the Umami, which has a parmesan crisp, caramelized onions, ketchup, portobella mushroom. This burger was good too, but just not as good as my port and stilton.
Sweet potato fries were pretty standard, but the regular fries were surprisingly good-almost reminiscent of McDonald's fries and everyone knows McDonald's are the best.
Service was a little spotty, which from other reviews I gather is quite common here. Our waiter forgot our fries and it took asking 3 times to get waters. Oh well...
The burger was so good that I'll definitely be back.
Umami Burger 1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd. (323) 469-3100