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Umami Burgers....Worth the price ??

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sdv231 May 8, 2012 04:54 PM

Just found out that Umami Burgers have opened a branch in Thousand Oaks (Nate and Als Deli old spot )
Looked at the menu online , as I've never been to an Umami Burger before. The burgers sound great but they are pricey....$10.00 to $15.00 per burger befor adding any sides (i.e. fries rings, etc. )
anyone tried these ?
I dont mind paying if this is a GREAT burger

Thank you

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  1. Bob Brooks RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 05:01 PM

    Their Hatch Burger is perfection on a bun. And their onion rings are exemplary. Some here may differ.

    1. wienermobile RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 05:06 PM

      I am a fan. Small but very tasty burgers. My favorite is the Manly Burger (beer-cheddar cheese, smoked salt-onion strings, bacon lardons) and the lamb burger (lamb, minted edamame hummus, Valbreso feta cheese, sliced cucumber, and pickled shallots). At the Hermosa Beach location they have a wonderful Baja Burger with tempura fried cod, crushed avacado, cabbage slaw, fire-roasted salsa, chipotle lime aioli.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wienermobile
        perk RE: wienermobile May 8, 2012 05:15 PM

        Wow...the Baja Burger sounds great. I may have to head south!

      2. e
        Ernie RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 06:08 PM

        I think they are definitely not worth it. I find Umami's burgers to be small and ultra greasy without anything crisp to offset all the richness. I thought their onion rings were awful, limp and poorly fried.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Ernie
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          ilysla RE: Ernie May 8, 2012 11:38 PM

          +1 (except for the size part; I thought that was fine). The meat itself was great, but the bun was VERY greasy, the fries were bland and not particularly tasty (despite the waiter going on and on about how much time the chef puts into the preparation of the fries), the onion rings were falling apart (the battered portion, not the onions themselves), and the condiments served on a spoon were too precious by a half (and were nothing special in taste).

          i actually don't think $10-15 is bad for even a GOOD burger, though, so you might as well satisfy your curiosity to see on which side of the line you fall.... ;)

          The waiter at Plan Check (which obviously isn't anywhere near Thousand Oaks) said that their owners were also behind Umami? Very curious, since I really liked Plan Check (aside from the overly noisy environment).

          1. re: ilysla
            wienermobile RE: ilysla May 9, 2012 07:12 AM

            Plan Check is not part of Umami, but Umami's former executive chef Ernesto Uchimura created Plan Check's wonderful menu.
            http://www.plancheckbar.com/

        2. r
          raizans RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 07:14 PM

          since when is a 6oz burger small? that's pretty much all the meat you need for a day. i think they're a good deal.

          2 Replies
          1. re: raizans
            c
            chezwhitey RE: raizans May 9, 2012 10:19 AM

            small for paying 12-15 dollars.

            1. re: chezwhitey
              r
              raizans RE: chezwhitey May 9, 2012 11:35 PM

              well, $10-15, and the only $15 burger is tuna. i think all of the beef burgers are $10-12.

              i should probably get out and try more burgers. maybe my perceptions of value will change.

          2. Servorg RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 07:33 PM

            I'm stuck on the Triple Pork Burger with fresh ground pork, chorizo and bacon with manchego cheese & pimento aioli. This is at the Santa Monica branch and I don't know if they offer it all the locations or not. It's very tasty and I find it to ample in terms of size.

            1. t
              Thor123 RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 08:39 PM

              Yes

              1. ipsedixit RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 08:41 PM

                I think the burgers are good.

                Do not think that they are pricey. $10-15 is pretty the sweet spot for gourmet burgers these days.

                Heck, a Big Mac can run you close to $5 on most days.

                1. m
                  medrite RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 09:20 PM

                  IMHO the truffle burger at the Studio City location is to die for.

                  1. puppychao RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 09:47 PM

                    I've been to several Umami locations, including the new Thousand Oaks one. I think the price is fair when comparing gourmet burgers. I've had all the burgers and the Umami Burger and the Truffle Burger stand out. The Thousand Oaks locations has a special Trattoria Burger, as well as a kids menu.

                    1. PeterCC RE: sdv231 May 8, 2012 10:05 PM

                      +1 to all the recs (and I guess -1 to sole dissenter Ernie--just kidding). The only reason why Umami Burger (the SM location) wasn't on my list in the "I have never, ever, had a bad meal at ____________and I have eaten there over a dozen times!" thread is because I haven't eaten there a over dozen times yet.

                      Of their regular menu, the triple pork, truffle, and manly are what I go for, in that order, but the last few times I've been there they've had a truffle poutine burger. Having lived in Montreal, I love good poutine-inspired food, and the poutine burger is delicious. No brioche bun, served on fries instead, melted cheese (alas no curds), and a light gravy, the best part may be the flash-fried (or maybe freeze-dried) shiitake mushrooms strips on top. Like crispy vegan bacon...

                      Favorite sides are a tie between the smushed potatoes and tempura onion rings. The beets in the beet salad almost look like slices of tuna sashimi.

                      (Dunno if this is sacrilegious, but I like their burgers better than Father's Office.)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: PeterCC
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                        Ernie RE: PeterCC May 9, 2012 07:53 AM

                        That's OK, we have very different tastes as it seems. I think "truffle" oil splashed on anything is disgusting, and Umami likes to splash it on many items.

                        1. re: Ernie
                          ipsedixit RE: Ernie May 9, 2012 08:08 AM

                          Totally agree with you on the truffle oil. That's why I'm partial to the House or Earth burgers.

                          1. re: Ernie
                            PeterCC RE: Ernie May 9, 2012 09:00 AM

                            That's cool. World would be pretty boring if we all had the same taste.

                            What do you (and others in the thread) think of Hole in the Wall Burger Joint?

                            1. re: Ernie
                              b
                              bg90027 RE: Ernie May 9, 2012 02:07 PM

                              I just got around to watching the Croatia episode of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations last night. There was a segment in which Tony was visiting the area of Croatia which is the world's biggest source of white truffles where they were making fun of restaurants that use truffle oil in their cooking with the local Croatian chef saying any such restaurant should be immediately closed.

                              As far as the original question goes, I'd say no it's not worth it. I am completely biased against Gourmet Burger places in general though. When the price of a burger and fries passes 50% of the cost of a very good steak frites, I question the value proposition.

                          2. TonyC RE: sdv231 May 9, 2012 08:55 AM

                            As was quoted http://www.lamag.com/features/story.a... , this is a BS burger.

                            If you want to taste beef in a burger, you won't find it here. I find their entire line rather foul, except for the turkey.

                            The regular burger tastes like a Chinese/Vietnamese cook poured soy/fish sauce into the grind. Reminds me of the meat loaf we used to make at home (with onion, panko, soy sauce) when we were running out of protein in the fridge. Except this is worst, because it's drowned by overzealous bun-nage.

                            Want a "gourmet" burger, do it at Petrossian - I prefer the sidewalk, to better see the WeHo riche. Want affordable grass-fed, Burger Lounge. Want affordable "bespoke" non-grass-fed, Rounds. Want surprisingly good chain burger, Daily Grill. Want steak house burger, Nick & Stef bar burger.

                            None of the chefs in town will speak out against this beef atrocity, because Mr. F's expanding like a mofo after SBE poured in capital, and someday they may have to interview for a job in the AF Empire. What a talented business man though. Can't wait til 800F hits East of 110 (or hell, east of 710).

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: TonyC
                              Servorg RE: TonyC May 9, 2012 09:20 AM

                              I take it that you haven't tried out the burger at Villains Tavern downtown yet (I mentioned it once before when you were lamenting the dearth of a good $12 burger downtown)? I got the sense it's a riff on the Father's Office burger to some degree based on the cherry marmalade they use to give it a slightly different bend from the herd.

                              I also had a chance to sample the deep fried chickpeas which were pretty damn good. I would like to try the bacon popcorn, but I'll save that for when my arteries aren't under full frontal assault. You can always elect to leave off the marmalade if you want to sample it in "straight up" mode.

                              http://www.villainstavern.com/Home/VT...

                              1. re: TonyC
                                n
                                New Trial RE: TonyC May 9, 2012 10:33 PM

                                Actually, most people would agree that the turkey burger is "fowl."

                              2. e
                                EricDC RE: sdv231 May 9, 2012 09:51 AM

                                Not worth it. The burgers are just OK, and certainly not worth their price point.

                                To wit: Father's Office charges the same, and the burgers there are MUCH better, IMO.

                                Umami burgers are no better than an average burger place. They just throw on a few more fancy toppings. IMO: skippable. Save your money.

                                1. soniabegonia RE: sdv231 May 9, 2012 09:56 AM

                                  a bit fat NO for me. Been 3x, all with varying results, but in the final analysis, I'd prefer to spend my money elsewhere.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: soniabegonia
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                                    LesThePress RE: soniabegonia May 9, 2012 10:14 AM

                                    I went on Friday (the day after they opened) and picked up a Cali Burger to go. I ordered it medium rare, which she confirmed. When I got home it was medium, just a thin row of red in the middle.

                                    My wife and I went on Saturday to eat there. I ordered the same burger 'rare', which the waiter said fine. I told him about the burger being overdone the previous day, he said, don't worry. The burger came and I cut it in half in front of him, same thing, medium, not even medium rare! He apologized and insisted on having it redone. When the 2nd burger arrived, it was a little rarer, but still not even medium rare. I just ate it and said no more.

                                    The burger was good, size a little small for the price tag ($10). It had good flavor and I really liked the bun. My wife had the truffeld Beet Salad which she thought was very good. The portion was a little on the small side. The meal was okay, and we'll go back if we want a quick bite near home.

                                    All in all, although this place is about 1 mile from us, I'd rather drive to The Counter, I like their burgers much better.

                                    1. re: LesThePress
                                      w
                                      Wolfgang RE: LesThePress May 9, 2012 03:47 PM

                                      Yes, it's worth it, or close enough, to try it to decide for yourself if it's worth it. I wouldn't call it a good deal though. It's a splurge to spend around $20 on a burger and fries, even if that's the going price for gourmet burgers.
                                      I've been about 6 times, all in L.A., and always have the manly burger in spite of its name. It's always been cooked a perfect medium rare, which is a rarity. Even when I used to live down the street from FO in SM and would frequent their burgers, they wouldn't turn out meat temperatures with the same consistency. I don't put Umami on FOs level, though, but I put it clearly above the Counter, which I find clinical and bland while still being greasy.

                                  2. n
                                    nosh RE: sdv231 May 9, 2012 06:57 PM

                                    I thought the burger I tried (at least a couple of years ago, at the original location) was very good. I think at the time it was $9. My problem was with the sides. The order of fries or onion rings (I forget which I ordered, but I saw several coming out) were miniscule, and at about $4 or more, expensive. So there I was, over $15 w/o a drink and including tax and tip, for a lunch that didn't fill me up.

                                    What really galled me, and kept me from returning, was the parking situation. When I tried to leave I was boxed in by another car. I notified a couple of different servers and they did NOTHING to help. Finally, after fifteen minutes, I went back min and screamed myself to identify the owner of the offending SUV.

                                    1. p
                                      prawn RE: sdv231 May 10, 2012 08:09 AM

                                      I have to lean towards No.

                                      Obviously a personal thing, but I expect a $15-20 burger meal to be more on the substantial side and that includes the sides like fries or rings. Umami is tasty for sure, and I would eat there if I happened to be in the area. But I definitely would not go out of my way.

                                      1. LexiS RE: sdv231 May 10, 2012 10:59 AM

                                        God no. I found the Unami burger to be a flavorless pile of mush. They're pre-made in the back and even if you order something different it ends up coming out the exact same.

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