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Umami.

We live around the corner, so we put our name on the list, got quoted a three-hour wait, went home and watched TV, and then came back and plopped down at the bar around 10 PM.

I KNOW there will be naysayers, but I thought it most certainly lived up to the hype. I got the truffle burger, husband tried the one with hatch chilies and we split an order of the smashed potatoes.

The best part of the whole experience were the sauces. Potatoes came with some kind of garlic aioli that I would have licked off the plate and they gave us a bottle of their special ketchup to squirt on whatever we wanted. I don't ever want to go back to regular ketchup after this.

In terms of the burgers: we got them medium rare and they were really tender and kind of fell apart in the good way when you were eating them. The truffle cheese and sauce was gooey and decadent and I just wanted to eat my burger forever.

Buns were nothing special and we were too full for the ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

I'd like to go back and try their turkey and veggie burgers, they looked very interesting.

Finally, shout out to the staff who must have been beyond frazzled but were bright-eyed and bushy tailed even at 11 at night. The bartender told us that they will be rolling out to-go orders eventually, so I can't wait for that!

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  1. Yeah, the "smushed potatoes" are pretty good.

    I'm just not a fan of truffle anything on a burger, but some of their other creations are pretty good, esp. when you have the roasted garlic aioli on a burger between two buns, and not just in potatoes.

    1. I liked the truffle burger too, as well as fried pickles. Medium rare patty was thick and juicy. Spicy and sour fried pickels were a perfect match with the burger too.

       
       
      1. Sietsema reviewed it today.

        http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/07/...

        Overall he liked the burger well enough but said it began to disintegrate as he ate it. Did you have a similar problem?

        1. The place just opened days ago and theres already a 3 hour wait?

          10 Replies
          1. re: Ziggy41

            I suppose one could eat both a Cronut and a Umami Burger ... and just call it a full day's work.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              the wait is so long because the place is currently pretty tiny, I counted about 40 seats when I was there this afternoon. they plan to open the upstairs in the next few weeks, lines should be a lot better then.

              1. re: Ziggy41

                They're fairly well known in LA and the owner has been talking a lot of smack in the media about the NY burger scene.
                http://www.grubstreet.com/2013/05/uma...
                http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs...

                1. re: kathryn

                  I don't it's much smack talk coming from Fleischman.

                  In fact, I think he's identified a blind spot in the NYC burger scene, the $10 (or middle class) semi-gourmet burger.

                  Given NYC rents, not sure he can maintain that price point and still remain profitable, but if he does, he's probably onto something big.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I don't think Umami fills this blind spot, though. The Umami Burger is $12. Fries are $3.50. So prices start at $15.50 for a burger and fries, which is a price point that a lot of restaurants are working around.

                    If we were talking about $10 for a burger AND fries, then I'd say they were definitely tapping a sparsely populated segment of the market.

                    1. re: Humbucker

                      No, we're not talking about burger and fries.

                      Most casual burger places either start their burgers at the 5 range (like Joy or Shake Shack) or at the 12-15 range. If you include fries at any of those places, you would similarly add a 2-3 bump in total price.

                      Granted the Umami creation is probably smaller than many of the joints we're talking about, but most people aren't going to miss an ounce or two.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        According to the Seriouseats report, Umami is in the 12-15 range.

                        http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                        There are plenty of places (Molly's for instance) where you can get a bigger, possibly tastier burger for the same price but including fries.

                        1. re: Humbucker

                          Places like Molly's and 5 Napkin aren't really in the same class as places like Umami.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      "In fact, I think he's identified a blind spot in the NYC burger scene, the $10 (or middle class) semi-gourmet burger."

                      Lets be clear about the price point. Robert Sietsema visited Umami on the day it opened. He ordered a burger and fries. No beer, no Coke. He got tap water with it.

                      The total bill, with tax and tip, was $23.50. If you want umami on your burger it doesn't come cheap.

                      http://ny.eater.com/archives/2013/07/...

                2. Totally underwhelmed with lunch yesterday. I had the original Umami Burger, which is topped with shiitake mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and a parmesan crisp. sadly, there was exactly one tiny shiitake cap and one tiny roasted tomato slice. i tasted my wife's truffle burger and struggled to find any sense of truffle flavor. sides were nothing special and quite small. i wouldn't be compelled to return for any of the dishes we had. two burgers and three sides put us at $48 with tax and tip. i don't know how that's covering a gap in price points on good burgers, especially if you consider the size.

                  1. I went to Umami Burger on opening day, and it was the bomb. I loved every single bite of it.

                    Met a friend there at about 11:45 and there was no wait. Ordered a tasty beer (Stone IPA), and we ordered an Original and a Truffle burger. Maybe it was just because this was my first one, but man, those were both some awesome burgers.

                    They were so good, I actually went back the next day for lunch too, alone. Sat at the bar and ordered the Truffle burger. It was still delicious, but it wasn't as good as that first one.

                    Maybe it's inconsistent, or maybe some people just don't really like the Umami flavor...but I just don't understand all the negative reviews.

                     
                    1. Gave them another shot today. Found the Truffle and Manly burgers to be much better than the California and Original. Medium rare was definitely leaning more towards rare. They use nice quality meat and get an excellent sear on it, if you are into that sort of thing.

                      Solid burgers, and we only waited 15 minutes to be sat during weekend lunch. A good addition to the neighborhood. But not worth a trek, I think.

                      1. For some reason I felt tghe Cali burger tasted better than the original, heck, I could even say it had more "Umami", even though it didn't have that umami icon on the menu. The original just wasn't doing it for me.

                        1. we went here a second time last week, just after they opened at 11 AM. the place was nicely empty (maybe two other tables full) and we both thought the truffle burgers were delicious in a unique kind of way. The Little Owl is still my favorite, nothing will ever replace a bacon cheddar burger for me, but Umami is a nice change of pace, especially if there is no line.