Chain restaurants usually make me shudder and I avoid them as much as I can when going out for lunch and dinner. One exception is Red Lobster. Cheddar Bay biscuits, I do call your name! Other than that, no chains is my strict rule. There are thousands of restaurants in the five boroughs and it makes no sense to stick with Applebee’s and Friday’s when there are so many other options. Recently, I came across a chain that made me reconsider.
Umami Burger has locations in California, Florida, and New York. It’s an upscale burger joint complete with servers and bartenders, and a full bar.
I changed my method and decided to visit an establishment twice before I wrote about it. One, the first time could have been a fluke, good or bad, and two, the food and service can change depending on the staff. To be objective, a second visit makes sense.
My first time eating went well and my second was even better. I ordered a truffle burger (truffled aioli, truffle cheese, and truffle glaze) and truffle fries (thin cut fries with house truffle cheese). The burger was served medium rare and it was done right. It wasn’t hockey puck well done and it wasn’t so rare that it mooed on my plate.
As I was eating, I noticed that just about everyone on the staff was incredibly fine. Seriously, everybody looked good even the general manager. This may be specific to this location but now that I think of it I haven’t come across an unattractive waiter yet. Maybe it’s a New York thing.
Coolhaus ice cream sandwiches are served as a dessert and while it looked appealing, I was way too stuffed from the delicious burger and fries to indulge.
Unlike other restaurants in this neighborhood, rustic, vintage, or mismatched can’t be used to describe Umami Burger. The colors are dark with sleek chrome light fixtures, rich wooden floors, and wood paneling on the walls. This isn’t like old school Grandma basement paneling. It’s smooth and pitch black. It’s almost too cool of a place to eat a good burger.
My server asked me, “Is it all you wanted and more?” My answer: Yes!
Umami Burger’s locations are in Williamsburg, Greenwich Village, and Brookfield Place.