Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Japanese Lessons

Hello again, dear Readers!

This week was a very special visit for The Danger Sandwich. After nearly four years of living in Los Angeles, I finally visited a hip and highly talked about burger joint.

I had been hearing about Umami Burger for quite some time, even from people outside of Los Angeles, but never was able to stop in. This weekend, I finally found the opportunity to table up and try one of their famously delicious burgers. But would this sandwich live up to the hype that had preceded it?

For those of you wondering, Umami is a Japanese loan word that means "savory". It is our fifth taste sense along with sour, salty, sweet, and bitter.

After my brief history lesson from the Internet, I took my time in perusing the menu. Finally, I decided not to take the traditional route and get a beef burger, but instead opted for the delicious sounding Carnitas Burger. Fresh Ground pork, house made carnitas, guajillo sauce, jalapeno sour cream, guacamole, and tortilla crisps round out this DANGERous adversary.

Let's start with the bread.

Sadly, the bun was neither good nor bad. I didn't notice too much flavor at all being contributed, and sometimes that's okay. Sometimes a good texture from the bread can really add to it. Not in this case though. It made me think of past sandwiches where the bread was delicious, functional, and truly umami.

The carnitas patty itself had a very mild taste which did not stand out like a savory beef burger would have. The problem with having a burger made from anything but beef is that you have to make sure the patty is thoroughly cooked.

This is not always a bad thing, but if not carefully watched, can easily lead to two problems: 1.) loss of flavor; and 2.) burnt outsides. The problem with this burger is that it suffered from both.

Through my eating experience, I tasted glimpses of how amazing the carnitas could have been if it had just been pulled off of the grill a moment or two earlier than it had. Maybe next time would be better.

The real winners here were the condiments added to the sandwich. The guajillo sauce is made from guajillo chillies and contributed a strong, flavorful pepper taste without providing too much heat. The sour cream was excellent, providing its distinct flavor with the bite of jalapenos.

Lastly, the tortilla strips were a perfect addition in both flavor and texture. It's always good, in my opinion, to have a nice crisp bite whether by lettuce leaf, potato chips, or crisp dill pickles to add an defining texture contrast to a burger.

All in all, it wasn't a bad burger.

But it could have been a lot better.

Don't let this deter you from Umami Burger though, as their selection seems very enticing. I know I'll be back again.

Until next week!

P.S. - in playing with the medium of internet blog, I've decided to start adding links to more in depth information in each blog. I can't always go as in depth with topics as I would like, so I will try to provide you with more information where I can. Thoughts?

Carnitas Burger
*** Stars
Umami Burger
4655 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027


  1. Next time get the Truffle Burger. That should do the trick.

  2. That sounds very disappointing, but not unexpected. After all besides Bison and Beef, all other meats you would use for a burger (being someone that has a made A LOT of burgers at home) can be pretty bland. Having said that, one of these days, if you find yourself in my neck of the woods (which remains a question mark what that is until the summer), I will gladly present you with my brat burger: a veal/turkey patty flavored in the spice mix of a brat lovingly grilled and served with sauteed sauerkraut, onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese and a horseradish mustard/mayo combination on toasted sourdough. THAT's a burger which is truly UMAMI!!!


hey, totally leave your name in your post so i know who is posting! thanks for commenting!