Saturday, May 21, 2011

Umami - the Fifth Taste

Umami is a Japanese word meaning "pleasant savory taste." It is said to be the fifth taste together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. It is a mild taste that is pretty hard to describe. The flavor of umami has therefore been incorporated into the burgers at Umami Burger. Hubby and I have been dying to come here for a while now. Ever since seeing the restaurant featured on many cooking shows as well as from hearing other foodies rave about the restaurant. Today was an opportune time for us to see what the hype was all about.

The restaurant had a pretty cool vibe. It had a nice brick interior and the seating varied from regular tables and chairs to retro leather couches to a school playground bench and table. The menu was nothing but burgers and sides.

I decided to order the original Umami burger, which was an umami flavored hamburger patty topped with a cheese crisp, slightly cooked tomatoes, and shitaake mushrooms. I paired my umami burger with a side of their onion rings which I dipped in their delicious garlic aioli. I loved the flavor and crunch of the onion rings, but they became super greasy by the time I reached the bottom of the plate. I don't like eating greasy onion rings.

Hubby ordered their SoCal Burger, which was another umami flavored hamburger patty, cheese, slightly cooked tomatoes, and lettuce. He paired his burger with their thin fries.

Hubby and I decided to give each other half of our burger, so that we can each experience the different umamis.

To wash it down, I ordered their "Mexican Coke," which is nothing more than a regular coke in a bottle. I used to buy a lot of this stuff in the Philippines, where its also prevalent.

The burgers here sure are "umami." Its a flavor that I definitely can't describe. Its a very unique and pleasant taste. Not what you'd expect from a run-of-the-mill hamburger. The only thing I didn't like about this place was that even though we saw a few families walk in with their kids, this isn't that much of a kid-friendly place. My daughter isn't a burger eater yet. We all know that she only eats pasta and rice. Sometimes a good grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla will find its way on her plate. And they didn't have any of that or any kid friendly meals. I don't know if we'll be frequenting Umami Burger for a while, until she learns to appreciate a good burger. Maybe when she's around 6 or 7 years old? But we'll definitely swing by every now and then to get our umami fix. We'll just have to make sure my daughter has had her meal before we come here.

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