behold the signature Umami burger
The opening of Umami Burger in Los Feliz is cause for celebration since until now, there was barely a decent burger to be found east of Hollywood. (I dunno, is anyone that into Fix Burger?) Although it's only been open a week, Umami already turning out burgers bursting with umami flavors, thankfully without too many service glitches.
I doubt I will ever be able to replicate my first Umami experience, biting into one of the best burgers I have ever tasted as I sat all alone at the La Brea location with a glass of owner Adam Fleischman's excellent petite syrah. Since then, my experiences have varied -- a sublime scallop sandwich, a way-too-rare Hatch burger.
I'm glad they've caved in and decided to offer skinny regular and sweet potato fries, since the giant log fries never quite seemed to work. We had onion rings ($3), which have a nice malt liquor batter but could just a touch more time in the fryer to fully cook the onion. They were already out of the turkey miso burger, so we had to go meaty all the way. It was Kathy's first Umami experience -- we both liked the Umami burger ($9) and its sweet Portuguese bun, although they tend to cook them rare no matter how you order them. With chorizo, bacon and ground pork as well as manchego cheese and pimenton aioli in the Triple Pork burger ($11), the piggy burger edged into the too-salty category, although it might have worked perfectly with one of the unusual Japanese beers on offer.
Fleischman says he decided to focus part of the beer menu on Japanese beers like Coedo sweet potato beer (a hefty $16 for a large bottle) and Echigo Rice Lager because no one else has much of a selection of Japanese beer, and to go with the Salaryman theme of the adjacent bar that used to be Sgt. Recruiter. There are also American craftbrews on tap like Poleeko Gold and Allagash White.
Coming soon, after they get their burger legs firmed up, are several entrees like steak, seafood and green fried chicken (with wasabi and Japanese herbs) as well as the return of the wonderful scallop sandwich.
Umami is off to a good start, and is already about as crowded as a Trader Joe's parking lot, but since Eastsiders tend to eat after 8, get there around 7 and you should be fine.
Also, I don't have to tell you guys this, right? But when really popular places get really crowded, your experiences may vary.
4655 Hollywood Blvd.