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3.8
NYC

Umami Burger

Perfect For: Sports on TV

We’ve been holding this in for far too long - Umami burger sucks, quite often.

This is not one of those reviews where we go once and trash a place. We’ve been to Umami at least 10 times in about as many locations. It insinuates its way into our eating far too often.

Of those ~10 meals, about three of the burgers were good. We’ve seen all the ways they can go wrong - mealy meat, instantly liquified bun, bad toppings, and the basic crime of everything not tasting good together. The three burgers that were good were pretty darn good. But what is this, Little League? Does everyone get a trophy? Do I only have to pay three out of 10 times?

The fries and specialty sauces are similarly unreliable. Is the super-duper “umami ketchup” better than Heinz? Going to throw our lot in with Malcolm Gladwell and say no. We’ve even tried some of the “secret” off menu items, like the cheesy tater tots, and we got a sad pile of potatoes in solidified plasticky yellow goo. These would have been below par at our horrific college dining hall.

We’re tired of Umami. Go to In-N-Out. Go to Five Guys if relentless customization is your speed. This scourge slowly creeping across our landscape must be stopped.

Food Rundown


Umami Burger
The “icon” is pretty weak. We’d trade patented umami powders for a properly done patty, every time. And the red wine/cheese chip thing does not hit the spot. Not our recommendation if you must eat here.

Truffle Burger
This burger’s popularity is proof of the downfall of our nation. Truffled meat piled upon truffle onions doused in truffle oil on a truffle bun. Have you ever had truffles at a good restaurant? They cost like a thousand dollars. This is under $15. You do the math.

Hatch Burger
The chilies add a spicy kick to the standard-issue burger, which is good. The meat and bun are still unreliable, which is not.

Manly Burger
The best, most consistent burger we’ve had here. Bacon and fried onions will do that for you. This is probably also the most down-the-middle topping combination. Coincidence?

Cali Burger
As a native Southern Californian, where we invented the cheeseburger (look it up!), this is a heinous crime against the thousand-island-laden standard-bearer that In-N-Out does so much to uphold. Please take this off the menu so people don’t think less of us.

Fries
Boring at best. Silly at worst. Must everything come with a truffle oil option? And yeah, the special ketchup sucks.

Tots with Cheese
You’re better off not knowing these are on the secret menu.

Salted Caramel Milkshake
We’ve only found this in some locations, but holy sh*t was it good. We’d support a wholesale conversion of the burger chain into ice cream shops.

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