The Unvegan

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Umami Burger is All Grown Up

Like blood, but better.

The newest edition of Umami Burger opened up a couple weeks ago in Los Feliz and I got there as soon as I could to see if they could continue producing those same amazing burgers. The last time I went to Umami on La Brea, it was still BYOB and had yet to develop a burger built for unvegans. Even the so-called “Manly Burger” had onions, but they were still nice enough to make burgers for my unvegan specifications. Umami Ni, as I like to call the new Umami Burger (ni meaning two in Japanese), was a grown up version of the original.

Not only does Umami Ni serve beer and wine, they even have a bar called Salaryman (another Japanese homage) where they serve Asian beers for comfortable prices. Arriving at 9:00, I expected to be seated quickly, but the place still had a waiting time, so I headed over to experience Salaryman. The place seems to really only exist for people waiting on their tables. I wouldn’t really consider the bar itself a destination, but it is a nice place to wait. Before I had time to finish my beer, my table was ready.

I checked out the menu and was amazed to find that they had finally crafted a burger for unvegans, the Truffle Burger. This veggie-free dream simply has Italian truffle cheese and a truffle glaze. With my mouth watering, I ordered my burger.

After a relatively long wait, a runner brought my burger, but to the surprise of my co-eaters none of their burgers showed. The burger looked amazing, but I waited a minute for the other burgers to arrive before digging in. A minute passed and our waiter came to tell us there had been a mistake. The burgers would be coming soon, but I should eat mine. Confused, but now free of being rude by eating my meal first, I started eating. It was everything I hoped for and more. I can say without a doubt that this is the best burger I have ever had. I don’t know what it is about truffles, but they seem to make everything taste better. I am now adding them to my list of things that make everything taste better, which includes cheese, garlic and bacon.

And what’s more? With the arrival of the rest of the burgers at the table, they brought me out a second burger, which I cut up for the rest of the table to try. It was nice to see a restaurant like that recognize even a little mistake and make up for it in spades. Now if only they could start making sides that match the burgers in tastiness. I tried both their sweet potato and regular potato fries, and neither were worthy companions to the Truffle Burger. They weren’t bad by any means, it is just that the standard is so high.

Umami Ni and its Truffle Burger has spoiled me for burgers and I now long for my next opportunity to devour some of their perfectly prepared burgers.