As you might guess from the name, Umami Burger has a little something to do with that elusive fifth taste. In fact, more than a little something – they aim to drop umami flavour bombs into all their dishes. And they deliver. Chicken wings here are served crispy in a soy glaze, with shichimi pepper mix, and the short rib sliders up the taste ante with a gochujang and gauva braise with cucumber and Thai chili peppers. You can add all manner of truffles (truffle salt, truffle cheese fondue…) and turn good fries into great fries. And even salads are something special; take the roasted portobello mushroom number, with its mix of frisee and rocket, goat’s cheese and piquillo peppers. And did we mention the portobellos themselves got marinaded in a sherry vinaigrette? Bam. Flavour bomb.
As for the eponymous Umami Burger – let’s just say it lives up to the hype. It’s the burger that launched (not quite) a thousand outlets, and it’s good. It starts, like all burgers on the menu start, with a 6oz hand-formed steak patty, and adds parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and, of course, Umami ketchup. But should that not float your carnivorous boat, there are other burgers, ones that feature everything from kimchi to cheddar. And, of course, there are non-beef options too, including a seared Ahi tuna burger (served with daikon sprouts, crushed avocado, gingered carrots, wasabi flakes and a wasabi tartar) and the epic Crispy Diablo (fried chicken breast with diablo sauce, roasted garlic aioli, dill pickles, and spicy slaw).
Fresh from a renovation, Umami Burger at The Grove in La Brea is now all sleek lines and bold colours. There’s a children’s play area, and a great craft beer menu – not to mention the huge variety of fried and fabulous dishes – so whatever your situation, you’re covered.