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Umami Burger opens on La Brea

February 23, 2009 | 12:02 pm

Umamiblog A city as diverse and cosmopolitan as Los Angeles deserves an equally varied assortment of burgers. Hoping to bring umami, "the fifth taste" of Japanese cuisine, to the world of luxury burgers, Adam Fleischman, co-founder of Bottle Rock has launched Umami Burger. Though it soft-opened only the Friday before last (Feb. 13), it's already proved popular with lunchtime crowds and L.A.'s burger cognoscenti.

This cozy, upscale joint features a small menu with such creations as the port and Stilton burger; the triple pork burger made with chorizo, smoked bacon and ground pork; the Mideast burger made with lamb and topped with honey-harissa sauce; and the restaurant's signature Umami burger, a juicy, crumbly, medium rare burger made with high-quality, freshly ground beef and topped with cheese, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. Every burger is served on a squishy Portuguese bun that puts your standard brioche to shame.

The menu includes only a few sides: thick-cut fries, house-made sweet potato chips and roasted garlic potato salad. But those used to receiving a mound of shoestring fries alongside their burger might be disappointed. The fries are about as thick and long as your thumb, and you only get five of them in a small side order, which at $2.50 for the side works out to $.50 per fry.

Umami doesn't yet have a liquor license, but you can bring your favorite beer or wine without any corkage fee. Or you can order a Mexican Coke, which arrives at your table still in the bottle.

Umami Burger: 850 S. La Brea Ave., L.A., CA 90036. (323) 931-3000

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Umami's signature umami burger. Credit: Rob Takata / For The Times

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