umami burger

Burger Review: The Manly Burger from Umami Burger

Overall Rating and Value

WOW.  What a surprise.  Absolutely worth it. 4.5 stars, or A-.  

Summary of the Burger

This burger - and the next one I’ll review from Umami - blew our expectations away.  I wanted to eat another one right after I finished half of one, and I’ve been thinking about everyday it since we had it (a week).  I highly recommend this burger and would be excited to have one again.  

(Note: this review was 95% written the day after the burger so that I could remember and remark on every detail as accurately as possible).

My Gut Feedback

During: I would easily order this burger again.

After:  I want to tell more people about this burger and recommend that those who have had a lackluster experience at Umami Burger to give it another try.  It was so good that I will order a double version of this burger, or a second burger, next time.  And there will be a next time.

***

The situation

My friend Tom and I were hanging out last Sunday night and were getting hungry.  I had been doing some research earlier that day on burgers to try in the city, so burgers were on my mind.  I brought up getting burgers, and he mentioned that he and his girlfriend had ordered from the SOMA location of Umami Burger through Caviar a few weeks ago and that they were good.  I had been to Umami Burger two times about seven years ago and thought they were good then, so why not tonight?  We couldn’t decide on just two burgers, and I was hungry.  So I proposed that we get four different burgers for a fun burger adventure.  So we did just that, and we ordered the Manly, the Truffle, the Cali and the Umami, having a half of each burger, totalling two burgers per person, through Caviar.  Would the burgers be good from Umami?  Especially through delivery?  

Read on, friend...

***

THE MANLY from UMAMI BURGER, SOMA Location

Price and Preparation: 

$14, ordered medium rare, no extra accompaniments.

Portion size

The size of this burger patty is 6oz, which is a decent size.  The bun is a decent size as well, and the toppings portions are reasonable. I’m often hungry enough to eat at least two burgers at Umami (and most places).  

Aroma

This burger smelled wonderful and definitely got the digestive juices going.  The salty beer cheese and the bacon lardons led the charge, followed by the meat.  

The bun

Overall: Satisfactory.

Presentation: it looks pretty.

Texture: A little chewy. No crunch on top or textural contrast.  But it holds together as the accompaniments and juices from the meat start to soak it, and provides a nice balance to the burger texture with each bite.  

Taste: Satisfactory.  Nothing that makes me want to have it again, and there are others that I’d prefer to this one.  If the top bun were less thick, if the whole bun had more flavor, and perhaps if it were toasted on top, I’d like it more.  I remember liking their buns more six years ago than I do now, though...were they different?  Was it the delivery that affected the bun, or did the recipe change?

Temperature: room temp, and I think it would be better if it were warm.  

Preparation: Fully cooked.  Satisfactory.

Proportion:  The bun matches the width of the burger nicely so that it didn’t overwhelm the burger in its length and width, and the toppings pretty much stayed in tact between the buns.  

I’m not a fan of how tall the bun is, though.  I always find myself cutting off half of the top bun because the top half seems too big, over-sufficient.  And since the bun is a little chewy, I would appreciate the top half being 50% smaller.  My gut tells me that if the bun were less chewy and lighter, I wouldn’t feel like cutting off half of the top.  

Now, let’s get to the REALLY GOOD stuff.  

Meat

Overall: Impressive. It smacked of very high quality, and I could have enjoyed several more of these patties.  

Taste:  Right. On.  The freshness and flavor of the meat came through wonderfully at medium rare.  The outside cooked portion of the patty had the saltiness of some of the accompaniments, and the interior, more-rare section tasted incredibly clean.  

Texture: Each bite was so soft and wonderfully succuluent, Tom and I wondered where they get their meat.  We researched and discovered that they use American wagyu.  No wonder.  

You know that chewiness or gristle that you get in burgers sometimes, especially when they’re medium rate or rare in the middle?  There was none of that, and that’s superb, especially considering that they coarsely grind their meat.  The coarse grind is unusual but was nice to enjoy, given the quality and preparation of the meat.

Temperature: Excellent.  It was a great temperature to enjoy the flavors and textures, especially considering that we had the burger delivered.  Serious kudos to the Caviar delivery guy!

Preparation: the patty was cooked perfect to order, a nice medium rare.

Presentation: the meat looked delicious and ready to eat.  Purplish pink on the inside, gray and black on the top and bottom.

The accompaniments / toppings on the burger

Taste, temperature and texture:  Excellent.  The beer cheese was so savory and wonderfully melted and warm, and it accentuated and enhanced the flavor and texture of the meat.  The taste was distinct and a nice surprise.

The crispy smoked salt onion strings were warm and crispy, with enough flavor to be noticed. 

The bacon lardons came in small chopped, ¼” squares and added an additional texture of more well-cooked meat, which was a nice counter to the onion strings, chewy bun, soft meat, and melted cheese.  The lardons didn’t make the burger too salty for me.   

There seemed to be something like an extra sauce on the bottom bun, perhaps it was the mustard spread, and it gave the bun additional flavor.  

Presentation: definitely made me want to dive in and bite the burger.  The melted cheese dripping off the edges of the meat and bun was hella inviting, and the bacon lardons and onion strings made it the stuff of food porn.  

Value

I would gladly fork over $14 for this burger again.  $14 is about the average for a burger in the city, and what this burger delivered .  I would even consider adding a second patty and be happy to spend that much on it ($5 more or so), the meat and flavor was that good.

Ambience and atmosphere

We weren't at the locaation, so this doesn't really apply, but Tom's apartment was a good place to enjoy a burger adventure.