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Nov 28, 2012 02:44 PM


Went to the newly opened Umami Mini in Westwood. Folks, we have a real winner here. There are 4 burgers on the menu: Each burger is 5 ounces and costs $5.95. Don't look for a rare burger here as the default cooking is medium. One can order via one of 3 Ipads located inside or at the register. Very friendly staff. (what little staff there is). There is one at the register, for the luddites not working the iPad, one calling out and giving the orders, some cooks in the kitchen and one busboy. Service is extremely fast. You can also order from your personal iPad or tablet and your order will be ready when you arrive.
In addition to the 4 burgers, there are 2 types of fries, plain or Umami fries , fountain drinks and 2 shakes (salted caramel shake and milk chocolate shake). The line moved very fast. This is going to be a howling success!!.
Seating was not difficult. Rather large patio area as well as indoor seating area. Music was on but not blaring. The tables turn very fast. They are open until 0200 on weekends.

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  1. Adam Fleischman definitely seems to know what sells.

    The Umami Burgers around town have lost their magic for me for the most part (especially after the opening of the flagship La Brea location years ago), but I will still have to give Umami Mini a try. The name somewhat reminds me of the MiniMac In LaJolla back in the early 80s.

    By the way, do you happen to know what the Umami fries are ? Are those the Lincoln log stacked fries (I guess it is somewhat apropos given the the current movie release). And is it next to the old Rite-Aid location ?

    Thanks for the report.

    Also, it's ultra-late closing time definitely helps.

    2 Replies
    1. re: kevin

      I do believe it is next to the old Rite Aid. I tasted my companion's fries and thought they were kind of mashed together. Would never order again. Look for parking on the street, actually not that tough as so many customers walk from UCLA. Wonder how this will affect In'N Out.? Better burger and Umami Mini and faster service. OTOH, In 'N Out is a legend with a drive thru.
      Opening, directly across the street from "Mini" is Veggie Grill. What an inspired location!!

      1. re: maudies5


        I seriously doubt Umami Mini will be competition for In N Out based primarily on the price differential and the fact that In n Out will never seem to have any direct competition. Though I am far from In n Out;s biggest fan, what it is doing is sui generis in its own way.

        From the standpoint of financials, In n Out's double-double combination meal is roughly under 6 bucks whereas as you mentioned above Mini Umami is 6 bucks for the burger alone not including fries and the soda, which would probably take it to at least 10 bucks if not more. Yet still more reasonably priced than Biggie Umami.

        Also, in my opinion on another note, Five Guys (which opened its Westwood location a couple years ago) does not seem to be a real competitor to In n Out.

        Actually I really wish there was still a remaining Hamburger Hamlet in Westwood.

      1. re: Dirtywextraolives

        1131 Westwood Blvd (just around the corner from 800 Degrees).

        1. re: Dirtywextraolives

          Close to the Rite-Aid site, street level, in a brick facade building that used to house a dine-in Pizza Hut on the second floor (a million years ago when I was a UCLA undergrad)... Recent "come-&-gone" tenants in that building complex included Ono Hawaiian BBQ.

          1. re: J.L.

            Damn, I know exactly where that is, and right across from the Pizza Hut on the same level used to be a food court with a kabab joint. Maybe that's going back to the late 1980s, the very late 1980s if my memory does not escape me.

            Then the space Mini is in has gone through a myriad of now now defunct fast-food joints.

            But I have a feeling Mini Umami is here to stay.

            1. re: kevin

              Yes, I remember that kabab place very well. It was called Kababi's and very good

            2. re: J.L.

              You sound like a Rhode Islander with those kind of directions :)