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Sep 1, 2013 07:19 PM

Umami Burger Palo Alto - yuck

Feeling hungry on University Ave. we wandered into Umami Burger hoping for some yummy beefiness. Alas, it was not to be.

Fried pickles to start. Not so good. These work when the crunch is offset by a spicy assertive sweet/sour pickle but these were more like cucumbers that hadn't been pickled long enough.

For burgers we both ordered the Truffle Burger with roasted garlic aioli, "house truffle cheese," and "truffle glaze." The server went to great lengths to explain that the burgers come out one notch less done that how burgers are typically prepared due to the "freshness of the beef" which they grind every hour. So if you want your burger medium, then order it medium well, and so forth. I ordered mine medium well (hoping for medium) and E ordered hers medium rare. Both came out completely overcooked, horribly greasy, and grey inside. No truffle or garlic flavor anywhere, just char on an over-sweet brioche bun. Ick.

The manager noticed our dissatisfaction and offered to bring us new burgers. I switched my order to the Hatch Burger with roasted green chiles, garlic aioli, and "house American cheese." For done-ness, I asked that my burger have some pinkish red inside.

Again, fail. What came out was properly cooked but upon picking up my burger a huge puddle of juice ran onto my plate and completely swamped my bun. Dudes, you gotta rest the meat. I mean, come on. The cheese (whatever it was) was over-melted and runny, and the chiles were diced up like a relish with little flavor at all. The burger was way under-seasoned without a salt shaker in sight. In the end, it was a brown, lumpy, mushy mess with zero flavor. Umami it ain't.

I don't get the hype at all and will not return. Much better burger options abound at Counter, the Creamery, and even Patty Shack in downtown RWC.

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  1. Yuck and ick, eh? Just in time for dish of the month, if you want to tie into the discussion,

    1. The DH decided we should try Umami burger last weekend and I agree with your disappointment/yuck. I don't eat beef, so I tried to order the turkey burger. Despite it being about 6:30pm on a Saturday night, they were sold out. The waitress recommended that I try the ahi burger, which she said was better than the turkey burger anyway. Fine. She warned me it was seared so the inside would be raw. I told her to cook it as little as possible.

      The ahi burger was the most tasteless, boring, mushy, unpleasantly textured food I can remember eating in months. It simply didn't taste like anything, and it turned out to be a pre-formed patty made of chopped and pressed tuna that was only slightly pink on the inside. It was absolutely terrible.

      The DH liked his truffle burger ok, but not that much. Needless to say, we are never going back.

      1 Reply
      1. re: artemis

        The Counter often features the ahi burger for their monthly Market Selection. I've had that multiple times, and it's quite good. I wonder how Umami messed that up and how that can be corrected.

      2. I went there last week and ordered the Hatch chile burger and truffle fries. The burger was okay but nothing memorable. There was some chile flavor but nothing very pronounced. The truffle fries were really wet and greasy. I left feeling like I had just gained 5 pounds. Next time I'll go back to the Counter.