I first tried Umami Burger back in 2009. Back then, Umami was just a small restaurant located on La Brea Ave. in Los Angeles with minimal seating inside and a few tables outside. I went for lunch with a bunch of my coworkers at the time and we pushed all the tiny tables on the sidewalk together so we could all sit as a group. I ordered the Port and Stilton Burger and it was amazing. And then I moved to Orange County and Umami Burger became a distant memory.
Since then Umami Burger has expanded to a bunch of different locations up and down California with three locations in Orange County. After a 4 year hiatus, I knew it was time that I got some Umami back in my life, and decided to check out the location at The Camp in Costa Mesa.
After perusing the menu I was pleased to see the old favorites from 2009 such as the Umami Burger and the Port and Stilton Burger, and excited to see new (to me) choices such as the Manly Burger and Truffle Burger. My heart broke a little when the waitress informed us they did NOT have the Port and Stilton Burger so I decided to try something different and ordered The Greenbird, which is a turkey burger with sprouts, avocado, and green cheese (does anyone know what green cheese is?).
I am pleased to say this burger did not disappoint. The turkey was juicy and full of flavor, and I loved the crushed avocado with every bite. Turkey burgers are normally kind of bland but this one was not. Half of the group ordered the Manly Burger which I sampled as well.
The Manly Burger was also delicious. The beer-cheddar cheese complemented the smoked salt onion strings and bacon lardons on top of the burger quite nicely. The Manly Burger may sound well decadent, but this burger was cooked perfectly and didn’t taste greasy at all.
In addition to the burgers, Umami is also known for their delicious sides and secret dipping sauces. We ordered sweet potato fries, thin fries and onion rings to share amongst the table as well as a full round of the dipping sauces which included the Umami Ketchup, Dijon Mustard, House Spread, Roasted Garlic Aioli, Jalapeno Ranch and Diablo Sauce.
Out of all the sauces, I liked the aioli the best, which was the perfect dipping sauce for the thin fries.
The thin fries were nice and crispy and had the perfect amount of seasoning. I actually found them to be a million times better than the over-hyped duck fat fries from Crow Bar. But my favorite fries of the evening were definitely the sweet potato fries.
The fries were covered in a salty-cinnamon sugar topping and they were divine. One could argue that there was a bit too much cinnamon, but I loved them. The onion rings also had a nice crunch and flavor to them as well, but the sweet potato fries by far stole the show.
This meal at Umami Burger reminded me why I fell in love with them in the first place. I can guarantee it will not be another 4 years before I return again.