Finding a good hamburger in New York City is like finding a good slice of pizza. No matter what neighborhood you’re in there’s always a great burger spot whether it be an upscale restaurant like Minetta Tavern or a more low-key place like Burger Joint or Corner Bistro. When we heard the famed LA chain Umami Burger was opening in Greenwich Village we needed to see if it could match up to its NYC competitors. Umami, meaning savory in Japanese, combines high end burgers with a relaxed dining experience. The restaurant is very casual and doesn’t take reservations, so during prime hours expect waits of an hour or more. However if you’re flying solo, like one of us did the first day Umami Burger opened, you may be able to snag a seat at the bar fairly quickly.
The menu is straight forward offering starters, salads, signature burgers and non-beef (aptly titled “un-beef” on the menu) options. To be honest, each time we visited Umami burger we skipped right over the salads and went straight for the burgers, (that’s why you go to Umami burger right?). The fried “artisan” pickles come out whole, not sliced, with a side of jalapeno ranch sauce and are pretty good. The truffle cheese fries, julienne fries with melted truffle cheese, are basically cheese fries with a hint of truffle. We had the same problem with the Truffle Burger. The on the menu truffle burger is a traditional burger with truffled cheese. It’s incredibly rich and, quite frankly, delicious, however the whole “truffle” part is a bit misleading. The Manly Burger is a much better choice and comes with huge chunks of bacon lardon and onion rings. The Portuguese potato buns, each branded with a “U” on top, add a sweet flavor to the juicy burger overflowing with toppings. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also take your chances on more unique burgers such as the 5 Spice Duck burger.
We enjoyed our visit to Umami Burger each time we went. We’d stick to the non-truffle options as they are a bit misleading but we have to say the burgers themselves are actually outstanding. In comparison to other NYC burgers, we definitely think Umami is a great addition to New York. In a city that is mainly focused on the quality of the meat in their burgers, it’s great to see a restaurant that focuses on offering unique toppings in addition to quality ingredients. While we wouldn’t wait over an hour for one of their burgers by any means, we would certainly head to Umami Burger anytime we were Downtown and looking for a good burger!
432 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011