A LocalBozo.com Restaurant Review
432 Sixth Avenue near 10th Street, Greenwich Village
Getting There: 1,2,3 to 14th Street; A, B, C, D, E, F, V to W. 4th St.-Washington Sq
Restaurant Review: Umami Burger
Although seemingly every restaurant sports its own proprietary blend of burger meat these days, each one’s claim that their burger is the lynchpin of their menu and a signature NYC staple is debatable. From poorly or unseasoned beef to overcooked hockey pucks, it’s clear that not every burger is created equal. When word of Umami Burger’s impending New York City outpost made its way to the east coast, relocated Los Angelinos had the entire local food scene abuzz with anticipation. Since it’s summertime opening, reviews have been almost entirely positive about the newest great burger to hit New York City’s Greenwich Village in spite of reported lengthy table waits, which in retrospect are well worth stomaching.
While most burger joints are spunky and casual, Umami’s first outpost follows the 5 Napkin Burger style of a restaurant that primarily serves hamburgers. The decor is modernized and moderately upscale, akin to a brasserie while also maintaining much of the comfort that you’d expect from any neighborhood hamburger purveyor. There is almost certainly going to be a line of people waiting just outside the doors, regardless of when you decide to visit, which some have argued with merit, is procedurally confusing. Their no reservation policy and no calls to your phone once your table is ready can certainly be frustrating when standing around the place’s front doors. What we found most surprising was a bar on the place’s second level, which would have been more that suitable to stand behind instead as our 45 minute table wait wound down. But a few paces around the block and our wait time dissipated relatively quickly.
Inside, diners were energetically buzzing as they enjoyed each dish and that familiar ‘cooked burger’ smell deliciously wafted up and inside of our noses. Once seated, our waitress made some suggestions and described the “5 Spice Duck Burger” ($15) topped with peach apple chutney, a creation available exclusively at this location. But having visited once before on a trip out west, there was no question that we were going with red meat on this night. Pleasantly, Umami’s beer list was rife with distinction as bottled craft beers like “Fire Island Sea Salt Ale” ($7) and “North Coast Pranqster” ($7) were ideal companions for washing down the hearty fare we had prepared to consume. We picked through the “House Pickle Plate” ($6), which included some seasonal beets, okra, green beans, and two different pickles, before the feast had literally been placed down in front of our eyes.
There are eight different on-menu burgers to choose from, each equipped with different fixings atop ‘Classic’ or ‘Un-Beef’ options which include tuna, turkey, and a veggie patty. Each fluffy untoasted burger bun is literally branded with the restaurant’s signature ‘U,’ but frankly, after the first bite there’s no forgetting where you are. “The Original” ($12), topped with caramelized onions, roasted tomato, shitake mushrooms, and a parmesan crip, was a mind-blowing explosion of flavors- unequivocally rich and mouthwatering to taste- that potentially has no equal. That is until the “Truffle Burger” ($12) makes it’s way out. Served beneath a creamy roasted garlic aioli spread, truffle cheese, and truffle glaze, the six ounce patty was perfectly seasoned to pair with the smattering of accoutrements that joined the meat enveloped in the similarly perfect bun. The pairing needs no additional sauces or condiments because it’s been already impeccably hand-crafted for you. A side of Umami’s signature “Sweet Potato Fries” ($4), doused in their ‘sweet salt’ only enhances the incredible delights that each scrumptious burger bite provides- the kind of savory satisfaction that can only be gratified with the undeniable deliciousness that that ‘hard to find’ burger can provide. In what might be the first of many Umami Burger locations in New York City, the restaurant appropriately belongs atop any must-try burger list, and may actually be peerless in that regard.
Rundown of the Meal
House Pickle Plate ($6)
Sweet Potato Fries ($4)*
The Original ($12)*
Truffle Burger ($12.50)*