After indulging at Super Duper Burger we walked a mere few blocks and stubled upon Umami Burger (2184 Union St. San Francisco, an L.A. venture that has a single shop in Northern California. Luckily, we were wise enough to check it out. Again, the interior was minimal, clean and had a rustic, woody, yet modern feel – very California Casual if you will.
We sat at the bar this time as the chairs looked comfy and we were there for a quick bite. The manager was working behind the bar and chatted with us a bit about the menu. They try to take quality grass fed beef, house made buns and extraordinary ingredients to make burger combinations that people will associate only with Umami Burger. We let him take charge and pick two of his favorite burgers for us to sample – skip the fries this time. House made ketchup was provided on Chinese style soup spoons, but it wasn’t necessary. The burgers arrived dressed and were to remain unaltered.
The first boyger he chose was their Truffle Burger. A gorgeous patty infused with the Umami Master Sauce, just the right thickness, was griddled to medium rare – spot on. There was a perfect crust on the outside that gave way to a juicy warm pink center that oozed juice down your arm. The meat received a generous slathering of their house made truffle glaze which is made with real black truffles – not the synthetic truffle oil crap. It was topped simply with a single thick slice of their gooey and fragrant white truffle cheese also made in house.
It was NOT over the top as far as truffle flavor went though. I know this seems impossible with the components mentioned, but the rich beef along with the Umami Master Sauce that delivered a slight tang, brought the dish into harmony and balance. It was a fantastic choice. And as many know, I’m a fan of the simple burger with fewer ingredients. I don’t want a salad on my hamburger. Thank you.
The second choice was a special that sounded too good to pass up – The Korean BBQ Kimchi Burger. This time we were presented with the same style patty, this time with a light sweet soy glaze, then topped with kimchi two ways – lightly breaded and fried as well as traditionally pickled. There’s a light dusting of sesame seeds and scallions as well. It was mind boggling.
I have read other reviews on Yelp about the burger and everyone agrees it should be a menu staple and it’s one of those dishes you crave. It brought flavors to the table that you NEVER find in burgers. It was the essence of Umami with that tangy, sour kimchi kick. We loved it. We could have eaten another, but that would have been…well….genius. Alas, there was still dinner not far down the road.
We finished out snack with something sweet. Since we weren’t going to be able to make it over to Humphrey Slocombe’s world famous ice cream on this trip, I noticed they served it HERE! And in the form of an ice cream sandwich…wh wh wh whaaaaat! Homemade macadamia white chocolate cookies with a super generous hand scooped boulder of Vanilla Ice Cream. Call it a day. Thank you Umami Burger. The winner between Super Duper and Umami?…too close to call. You decide for yourself.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat!