Yesterday night Kelly and I went to Umami burger for dinner. We both have heard rave reviews of Umami. Some even say that it is the best burger in LA. We all know that I have strong feelings about Father’s Office, so I knew I had to check out Umami! How could I not weigh in on the great debate?
Kelly and I went to the Santa Monica location which is located in Fred Segal and has a parking lot. The importance of a parking lot cannot be under emphasized. Looking for parking is never fun, especially in Santa Monica. The interior of the restaurant is small, but was not over crowded and it had cute, kitschy things on the wall including taxidermy.
We started with beer. What is better than beer and burgers? I would argue nothing.We both had a Belgium Blonde.
Kelly and I both are big believers in sharing. Like we did at Taste, we both decided to order our own burgers and share them. Umami has a wide selection of burgers to choose from. Our server suggested that on our first trip we should have their signature Umami Burger.
Whoops a bit blurry. I have to say that this was pretty good. I am not a huge mushroom fan but I didn’t mind them in this burger. I loved the meat. Again, I am not typically a big fan of ground beef but the quality of the meat was fantastic.
We also tried a bit more “avant gard” burger, the “triple pork burger” which features a patty made of pork, chorizo and bacon with manchego cheese and a pimenton aioli.
So good! A little bit spicier. It reminded me of a pulled pork sandwich.
And now of the sides… Kelly and I knew that we wanted sweet potato fries and at the last min our server convinced us to also try the cheesy tots!
The sweet potato fries were just OK. They had a cinn sugar topping on them which was different and unexpected. It was not bad, but it was… different. Probably not my favorite sweet potato fry but pretty damn good.
And how can you not like a cheesy tot?
So good! The cheese was not overwhelming and the fried outside was better than say, ore ida. I would absolutely order it again. And, going back, I would probably only order one side. The sides are good and the portion isn’t huge but I would have been happy with just one side.
There were also toppings for the fries and tots:
So where do I stand in the Umami vs. Father’s Office debate? Well, they are entirely different animals. Father’s office is a great bar with awesome food. They have a better selection of wine and craft beers. You get a ton of food and I love the burger. On the other hand, Umami is more restaurant like. It is less expensive (in the aggregate- but a $10 burger isn’t “cheap”) and we didn’t have an issue getting a table, which is almost always an issue at FO. I do have to say that the sweet potato fries at FO are better than Umami. Umami has more veggie options.
So, in my humble opinion, they are about equal. Different moods, different venues. What do you all think?