The Grove – 189 The Grove Dve, Suite C-10, Los Angeles
Arghhh my stomach is driving me mental! I’ve been sick all week and weekend, everything is aggravating it, and that sucks, because I JUST WANT TO EAT A BURGER WITHOUT BEING SICK!!! But I can’t, so I’ll blog about a burger instead. Totally not the same thing, but that’s as good as I can do right now :(
Do you remember a few years ago when this “umami” business was going crazy in the food world? Everyone was talking about this “new” flavour (well, not new, just branded), this savouryness, a taste that wasn’t sweet or salty or bitter or sour. It was big news for a while, and a clever man called Adam Fleischman capitalised on it in a big way with his Umami Burger chain.
The story goes something like this: he was eating at In-N-Out while thinking about a term he’s read in Heston books – “umami.” Many years later, after experimenting with umami ingredients like cheeses, seaweed, soy, he opened his first Umami Burger store in LA. A few more years later and you can now find Umami Burger not only all over California, but also in NYC, Vegas and Chicago. Happy days!
But you’re not here to read about that stuff. You want to know about the burgers. And whether or not they live up to the hype. Yeah? Thought so.
I ordered the name same Umami burger, bottom left (parmesan frico, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelised onion, Umami house ketchup) because any time I try a new burger place, I always try the namesake burger first. It’s just the rule.
Husband chose from the special menu, which is often his downfall, and got The Manly, bottom right (beer-cheddar, bacon lardons, onion rings, ketchup and mustard).
So, what usually happens when husband and I go out for a meal, is that I order something awesome that is delicious and wonderful, and husband orders something maybe a bit out of the box and then regrets it when he finds its not as amazing as it sounded on the menu, spending the rest of the meal staring longingly at my dish, with food envy in his eyes. For one of the first times in our decade long relationship, the food envy was reversed.
Let me clarify firstly though – my burger was delicious. The pattie was magnificent, cooked medium rare, crumbly and soft meat, clearly of high quality. The parmesan crisp was a nice touch for something different and signature, though it is hard to beat soft, melty cheese. All in all, a really good burger, and would smash most of the opposition on any other day.
The Manly was another level of burger, and any time we discuss our top 5 burgers ever, The Manly is ALWAYS up there. Just think about it – perfectly booked pattie. Brioche bun. Crispy, golden onion rings. Chunky bacon cooked in fat to bring out a bacon flavour I didn’t know existed. And melted cheese. Seriously. Nothing more needs to be said about this burger; it’s as close to the perfect burger as I think I’ve ever had. Those bacon lardons… omg…
We weren’t sure what to expect from Umami – the hype had all come and gone so long ago, and the food scene changes SO quickly. But I can honestly say that even though they’ve been forgotten about now that the hype has died down, the burgers are phenomenal, and should be on everyone’s list if they’re visiting a Umami-friendly city. That Manly Burger though… I still dream of it…