Eddie Pensier writes:
Paleo Retiree has blogged about the phenomenon that is Umami Burger. When I learned that the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX had a UB, it was decided that it would be our last meal on this particular US trip.
We both ordered the “Manly Burger”: beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardons, mustard spread, smoked-salt onion strings, and house ketchup. There’s literally nothing in that description that doesn’t make my umami-loving mouth water. (I’d briefly considered the “LAX Burger” with Stilton and port-caramelized onions, but bleu cheese on a burger always sounds better in theory than it turns out in execution, and besides, bacon.)
On to the burger itself: I don’t generally approve of seasonings within the burger patty itself, but whatever umami-boosters were mixed into the meat were unobtrusive enough to merely increase the beefiness to nuclear levels. The cheese had the unctuous silkiness of the very finest nacho topping, the onions were crispy perfection, and the bacon was chewy and smoky. I usually prefer bacon in strip form, but the lardons (fancy word for “chunks”) were small enough to not interfere with chewing, yet large enough to add bursts of extra porkiness and yes, umami. The spreads were applied thinly enough to avoid the unsightly goopiness/squirting that will mar a less carefully crafted burger.
The fries were thin, crunchy, and not the least bit soggy: just the way I like ’em. Even the ketchup had an umami twist to it: a miso-ish savoriness, or was it the aftertaste of oyster mushrooms? Whatever. Sensational.
Umami Burger isn’t cheap: two burgers, two drinks and one order of fries cost a not-inconsequential $45. But for a thoughtful and tremendously satisfying burger several dozen notches above the conventional, it’s hard to do better.