While in Los Angeles, I had the good fortune to eat several good meals, including some great Korean food in Koreatown and finally getting to try a place called Umami Burger I had heard a lot about.

First up, Umami Burger in Hollywood which features a variety of unique burgers with interesting flavor profiles, ranging from the Truffle burger with Italian truffle cheese and a truffle glaze to the Port & Stilton burger with bleu cheese and port-caramelized onions.  My eating companion and I opted to share two burgers so we could each experience some different flavor profiles. First we ordered the Umami Burger which features oven dried tomatos, earthy mushrooms, umami ketchup, caramelized onions and a parmesan crisp.

The Umami burger was quite tasty, but it was a bit of a different experience than I’m used to with burger eating. The flavor profiles of the ingredients were so varied and so delicate that I felt like I was forced to nibble on the burger to appreciate it.  In my mind an ideal burger should lend itself to big hearty bites and a robust, meaty flavor that you just want to dig into.

For our second burger we went with the Carnitas burger, which features ground pork with housemade carnitas, guajillo sauce, jalapeno sour cream, guacamole and tortilla crisps.  The Carnitas burger was delicious, but here’s the problem: it tasted EXACTLY like carnitas tacos. I mean exactly. They absolutely nailed the flavor profile. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it was a little bit of a confusing eating experience, because there is very little in the burger texture that makes you realize you are eating a burger. The moment each bite hits your mouth you just assume you are eating tasty carnitas tacos.  Overall, both burgers were very juicy, very flavorful and perfectly cooked.  In both cases very tasty, but not necessarily a totally satisfying “burger” experience for me.

For a side dish we went with the tempura onion rings:

These were absolutely delicious. The lighter tempura batter is perfect in onion ring form, and I gobbled these guys up.

Earlier that day in Los Angeles I had ventured into Koreatown on my own and got lunch at a place called Chung Dam Korean BBQ.  I went with the bibimbap and it was absolutely delicious. Some of the best Korean food I’ve ever had. Also enjoyable? Its large, 2nd story deck, where I sat for an hour or so reading the paper and downing shot after shot of Soju, a Korean style of Sake. Ah, getting drunk/buzzed at 2 in the afternoon, wandering around Koreatown. It’s a rough life, I know.  Forgot to snap a picture of my bibimbap, but did take one of the banchan that proceeded my main meal:

Mmmm…Korean food. The kimchi was delicious. Overall, some very successful eating in L.A.

H/T to Serious Eats and Dining on Deals for the Umami burger photos, my camera battery was dead when I went there….

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