03/24/12 - 0 Comments
The Fifth Taste at Umami Burger
Are you a sweets eater, a salty snack maniac, or an umami person at heart? Umami, the fifth and most recently discovered taste, describes foods rich in glutamic acid, but the word “umami” literally translates to “delicious” in Japanese.
Glutamate exists in most living matter, including plants and animals. When it breaks down, the molecules break apart. This happens when meat is cooked, cheese is aged, and plant matter like soybeans for soy sauce is fermented. To put it another way, it is when things get particularly tasty.
This taste was the muse for restaurateur Adam Fleishchman, a self-taught chef and entrepeneur. He stuck to his guns, creating a burger ripe with a deep, meaty flavor that will stand up to any other, even in a heavily burger-saturated city. His bread and meat varieties are like compositions, since each note is expertly and intentionally crafted with attention paid to the bun, patty, sauce, and vegetable accouterments. Critics have responded so positively that Umami has received GQ Magazine’s Burger of the Year award, and it has now opened six locations in L.A. and one in San Francisco .
Umami Burger has something for all of us, even for a recent carnivore-turned-pescetarian. You can choose among the Port and Stilton, with an ahi tuna; the Earth burger, with a mushroom and edamame patty; and the Truffle burger, just to name a few. The namesake burger is loaded with shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, Parmesan crisp, and umami ketchup. Fleishchman’s umami-spiked house ketchup is loaded with truffle, tomato, and savory goodness. You’ll be asking for another order of crispy fries just to dip in the sauce.
However, those sides are nothing to scoff at. Smushed potatoes, tempura onion rings, sweet-potato fries, and classic French fries are sure to wet your appetite. Guzzle down your feast with a drink from their expertly edited selection of beer, wine, and cocktails with Soju, a Korean liquor. On Sundays, they have mimosas, which go perfectly with house pickles and Japanese Caprese salad, if I do say so myself.
My favorite part about Umami Burger? It isn’t one thing, exactly. More than anything, it is how much thought is put into the details. Mexican Coca-Cola, jalapeno ranch, and ice-cream sandwiches with “Kombu Meals” are just a few of the reasons why Umami Burger is so satisfying to your taste buds, your nose, and your eyes. It is so, well, umami.
Photos courtesy of GQ, Jawbonews and Umami Burger
Sources courtesy of NPR and Umami Burger