By Jill Weinlein, 9/27/2012
The new Umami Burger at The Grove has a Zen-like, eco-friendly design with seaweed acrylic panels backlit to enhance the shape of the kelp pieces. This design is a prototype for dozens of new Umami Burgers that are scheduled to open within the next three years, including locations in New York. One just opened in San Francisco, with other openings scheduled. Adam Fleischman, the genius behind the restaurants’ concept, is one of the busiest entrepreneur’s in Los Angeles.
In the past two years, he has opened Umami Burger at The Grove, 800 Degrees in Westwood, Umamicatessen in Downtown L.A. and Red Medicine.
General Manager of the Umami Burger at The Grove, Kyle Ramirez, has over 22 years of working in the restaurant industry, and enjoys working with his enthusiastic team.
“Umami Burger has made The Grove ‘pop’ with energy,” Ramirez said. “We are family oriented. Everyone supports each other.”
The menu at Umami Burger at The Grove is similar to other Umami locations, with a few items that are exclusive to this flagship location, like The Grove Truffle Burger, Umami Milkshakes, and Umami Chips. Also on the menu is the slightly spicy Umami dog with diced white onions, house relish, mustard and cilantro served on a terrific bun. It’s made from Akaushi meat and is juicy and flavorful. This Japanese breed of cattle is now being raised in America. It’s a favorite of Fleischman’s because of its high concentration of oleic acid that is known as a heart-healthy fat.
Next, I tried the Greenbird slider. You definitely need a napkin for this Shelton farms natural turkey burger with crushed avocado and bacon. Another lip-smacking burger is The Grove Truffle with Parmesan fondue and truffle sauce, different from truffle burgers at other Umami locations.
“Smushed” potatoes, tempura onion rings, a duo of fries and the aforementioned Umami chips are great sides. The smushed, small golden potatoes with the skin on are double fried, and one of the best sides offered.
What you won’t see on the menu are the popular cheesy tots. They serve them at this location, however, because they sell out so quickly, you have to request an order from your server. Another “secret” menu item is the truffle fries.
Stephane Corbel, an Associate Architect from Kanner Architects, helped design and create the green approach for Umami Burger at The Grove.
Corbel explained that most of the products are recycled.
“We use LED lighting, bamboo table tops and recycled aluminum,” Corbel said. He showed me the reclaimed pickled wood paneling that is from Indiana and Utah. I told him I liked the ambienece the seaweed panels created.
“Part of my concept is to provide a relaxing approach. You can come into Umami after a movie or shopping and relax while enjoying a terrific burger,” Corbel said. “I wanted to make this design flexible for any state that Adam decides to open another new restaurant.”
A sampled tray of salted caramel shakes passed by and I gladly accepted one. The shake is made with whole organic milk, plenty of salted caramel and topped with pieces of sugar cookie. WOW! They also serve ice cream sandwiches, pie and root beer floats.
Fleischman recently acquired part ownership in a local artisan ice cream company, L.A. Creamery, and it’s served in most Umami Burger locations. Fleischman now has input on new flavors, such as Porc Phat, Moonshine + Caramel Corn, Absinthe and Mezcal.
This location is one of two in Southern California that offers a children’s menu. So take a date, your spouse and even the kids to relax, unwind and enjoy a gourmet burger at an affordable price. $$ Open Sun. through Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fri. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. 189 The Grove Dr. (323)954-8626.