Something we often tend to overlook when eating in a restaurant is music.
Since the main purpose of music while dining is to contribute to your overall experience and set the mood, it can often be dismissed without notice. While I was sitting in Umami Burger in Hollywood, the tunes coming from the overhead speakers could not be ignored. Reason being, it was the Spin Doctors. While the band may not have been what I expected to hear coming from a restaurant as edgy as Umami, it was hard to deny what I was hearing as the lead singer said I could go ahead and buy him flowers.
No thank you, sir.
As the song faded out, the waiter confirmed that he knew I was there to review The Cameron’s Dallas BBQ Burger. I agreed and with a nod of the head and a smile, he walked away and sent the order in with the kitchen. The exclusive burger was part of a collaboration of the restaurant’s Artist Series. For this burger, Umami teamed up with Netflix as they launched Chasing Cameron, an original series about a person becoming famous and doing famous person things that I’ll probably never relate to. I honestly don’t know what he does, but I do know that $1 from each burger sold will be donated to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and that’s enough to make me get the burger before it disappears on Tuesday January 31st.
As my order was being created in the kitchen, I ordered a cocktail from the waiter. Taking a look over their extensive liquors I couldn’t decide. Part of me leaned to a whiskey as they had so many to choose from, but I decided to go for something that I thought would be light.
I would soon find out I was wrong, but it would be completely worth it.
I went with the Velvet Mule ($11). The cocktail in the skinny glass was made of Tito’s Vodka, Velvet Falernum, lime juice, ginger beer, bitters, and mint. The mint served as a beautiful topping to the dual-colored drink. Within the first sips, what was clear as day was that it was strong! The bartender held no reservation in giving you the amount of liquor you paid for. I loved that even though it was a powerful drink, it didn’t taste bad or manly. Instead, it was pretty good. Although I’m not a fan of ginger beer, here it was welcome. The often sharp taste of ginger didn’t overpower the ingredients like I thought it would, rather it blended nicely. Mixing the vodka with the lime juice alleviated what could have been a heavy combination and the lime offered a tart taste. I liked that the mint may have appeared as merely a garnish, but through continued sips it was clear that it also served as a flirty and refreshing boost to the ginger. The best surprise that arose from the cocktail was the bubbly nature it had. The Velvet Mule had a spritz with each sip that came through the straw that only made the drink better.
Restraining myself from inhaling the Velvet Mule in one continuous drink, I directed my attention to the reason why I was in the restaurant. The Cameron’s Dallas BBQ Burger ($14) took two 3.5 oz beef patties, cheddar cheese, miso-maple glazed bacon, umami BBQ sauce, and tempura serrano peppers. It looked a little bit messy, it came off a little bit crazy, but since that pretty much describes me as a person I knew I would like it. With the first bite, I was right. I loved just how incredibly juicy, sweet, messy, and occasionally spicy the burger was! As I tore through the soft bread that was soaked in a grease and glaze mixture, I hit the Umami BBQ sauce that has bacon fat and cider. It was sweet and tangy. From there, the tempura serrano peppers offered a crunchy texture to what could have been a slippery pepper and they came with an incredible amount of heat. I should have taken a few off to reduce the pain I was sure to inflict on myself, but I didn’t. I left them on and let the fiery flavor mix with the two beef patties. The patties were thick and while I thought it may have been too much meat on a burger, it wasn’t. They could have put another one on and I doubt I would have minded at all. Not to be forgotten, the sharp cheddar cheese gave it a lovely taste that made the burger fall into my favorites category!
Served with the burger was a bowl of Truffle Fries. The fries were drizzled with a truffle oil, smothered with truffle cheese, and sprinkled with diced chives. The truffle here reminded me of my truffle dinner experience I had not too long ago. Each handful I took was better than the one that preceded it making me wish I could move faster for more. The shoestring fries were soft on the inside and barely crispy on the outside and contained just the right amount of salt. Each fry managed to soak up the truffle perfectly like a sponge and the gooey cheese on top made for an ideal topping that was better than I could have hoped to have.
While I could have done without a few of the songs that played while I ate in Umami, the food completely made up for that. I loved that the cocktail was strong, the fries were truffled perfectly, and the burger was everything I could have wanted! With such good food, the music wasn’t even a problem. And to be honest, what’s a little bad 90s music anyway? It’s not like they were playing Baja Men.
Then we would have a problem.
Address: 1520 North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Hours: Sunday through Thursday – 11:00am to 11:00pm and Friday through Saturday 11:00am to 12:00am
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Nice location
- Structure or street parking only