Outdoor concerts on the beach in Santa Monica sound like picturesque LA, but waiting in pointlessly long and slow moving lines for a bean bag toss was definitely not high on my list of fun things to do. Arriving back at my group with only a paper plate sparsely decorated with XS strawberries and an odd looking piece of bready cracker covered with cheese shavings for something to sate our hunger…not happening.
Got out of the pier area for some reasonably priced beach food for my cousin and my sister, dropped it off and then went on a spur of the moment decision to Umami Burger, which was conveniently located only a 15 minute walk away.
Located in this little niche between 5th and 6th street, it was attached to a Fred Segal shopping mall. I ordered an Umami burger, ground meat patty topped with a shitake mushroom, tomato, carmelized onions and a parmesan cheese wafer. The bun and patty were EXCELLENT. The meat was done just the way I like it, medium rare, and not too ground up, with visible chunks of unminced meat. The parmesan wafer was interesting, and did add flavor and texture, but not enough. It got a bit drowned out by the other ingredients. Only having one slice of small tomato and shitake mushroom kind of defeated the purpose of having them there. They were enough for perhaps one bite of the burger, I prefer to have it more spread out to have the flavors consistent with every bite. But overall, the lightly toasted bun and perfectly done meat patty overcame the little flaws.
Erilyn ordered a truffle burger, Swiss cheese, truffle oil and patty. And probably some other oily goodness. Once again, great bun and patty, the flavor for this was more of a richer creaminess. The cheese I think was drenched in truffle oil, to the point where the oil overflowed onto the plate. The burger flavor was more uniform compared to the umami burger.
Shared a side of sweet potato fries with Umami ketchup. The fries were thin and fried in a very light and thin batter that added an extra sweetness. The umami ketchup was sweeter and a bit more thicker than regular ketchup and at times, the fries were an excuse to scoop up more ketchup.
Met a fellow foodie who was just finishing up his meal at the table next to ours who told us about the cheesy tater tots that everyone raved about online and that wasn’t on the menu. I had no idea what he was talking about and he insisted on ordering it for us so that we could have the “full experience” of the restaurant. And he wouldn’t try any at all because apparently he didn’t eat fried foods at all. Foodies help other foodies in need.
Served with a side of Umami ketchup, the tater tots were simply mashed butter potatoes with cheddar cheese fried in a Church’s Chicken scented batter. I have no idea why they are so popular or whatever, but they were nothing special at all. Basically flavorless.
Besides the last minute tater tots (thanks to our fellow foodie), everything was great, and at about 12 bucks a burger, darn reasonable too. Screw Islands and Red Robin, why pay the same price for that shizz when you can get Umami?
Santa Monica, CA 90401