Umami Burger is finally here, and it's every bit as amazing as you've heard

The Manly Burger at Umami Burger in the West Village
New York

Umami Burger is finally here, and it's every bit as amazing as you've heard
Umami Burger is finally here, and it's every bit as amazing as you've heard

All Photos: Andrew Zimmer

Maybe you've been lucky enough to down an Umami Burger either in LA, or perhaps while getting rained on at GoogaMooga. If you haven't, here's everything you need to know: umami is the elusive 5th taste (beyond sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) that translates roughly to "deliciousness". There's actually a way to measure it that has something to do with glutamates, and Umami Burgers are absolutely loaded with things that measure highest on that scale. Hooray, engineered deliciousness!

The one that started it all, the Umami Burger: shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, Umami ketchup, and, instead of melted cheese, a Parmesan crisp.

This one's an NYC exclusive: an all duck meat/duck fat burger topped with caramelized fennel, Chinese five spice, apple/peach compote, Madagascar pepper (a vaguely sweeter and more floral version of the peppercorns you're used to), and crispy duck skin atop it all. It's designed so that, when you bit into it, it releases its aromatics and blasts you with flavor, much like VH1 a few years back.

The Manly Burger is kind of like a bacon cheeseburger topped with onion rings, only much more aggressive. The cheese is beer cheddar processed in house, the bacon is actually bacon lardons (which lay somewhere in between pork belly and bacon), and the onion rings are battered in malt liquor -- suck it, all burgers not made with 40s.

This Truffle Burger, like Paris Hilton, is simple and rich. Topped just with house truffle cheese and a truffle glaze (BYO Truffle Shuffle), it's an "excellent wine burger"...

...which is perfect, because they've also got a full bar.

The Bloody employs a special Umami-fied recipe (Umami dust, what!) and olives stuffed with their special garlic blend.

The strongest drink they have is the Closing Bell, an orange-tinged concoction tailored to accent the Eagle Rare 10yr bourbon.

You thought you were done eating? Wrong. Definitely get the cheese fries, Manly fries topped with the same goodness as that burger, or the truffle cheese fries.

These aren't exactly "secret" cheesy tots filled with aged Parm and cheddar, but they aren't on the menu, yet you can get just by asking. And paying. So do that. See what else actually IS on the menu, right here.

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1. Umami Burger 432 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

The burgers at this LA-based chain are different than the typical American hamburger because they're built around umami, the savory fifth taste that defines most Japanese food. The menu features a range of burgers, but the eponymous one, stacked with umami-amping ingredients like parmesan crisps, shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and ketchup, is a must-try. All burgers are served on a shiny brown bun and taste best when paired with an order of the signature thin-cut fries.