Umami Burger has helped spread word of the so-called "fifth taste," and now it's time for its own second and third locations. After all, the La Brea streamlined burger joint has been as packed as an ambitiously-built burger since it opened in February.
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Owner Adam Fleischman tells us he's eager to bring the Umami sensibility, his menu classics and expanded items to other parts of town, putting the umami quest in closer reach of folks who live near Los Feliz/East Hollywood and Santa Monica. The Cobras & Matadors era winds down when Umami will take over Hollywood Blvd. east of Vermont come the target date of September 1. C&M owner Steve Arroyo will still be in the mix: Arroyo has been tapped to redesign the place, which will include a Japanese-style Salary Man Bar. Expect oysters and a Japanese beer list in that dedicated area of the restaurant.
Fred Segal Santa Monica will function as Umami's Westside outpost, where the huge space on the southeast corner of 5th and Broadway is just begging to be filled with something that serves foods other than salads and white wine to shoppers loaded down with their Dries Van Noten and Stella McCartney purchases. Umami will take over the expansive kitchen to make its most popular burgers (Umami, Port & Stilton), in addition to what Fleischman describes as "a menu with weird food, like a green fried chicken dish and eel bowl." He also plans "a big take-out presence with curbside pick up." No doubt that the big patio out front will make for better people watching, once Umami's Japanese beer, American microbrews, and "cool wine list" become available.
Fleischman will take a page from the book of mainstream burger service culture and put together "combo meals" at both new locations. And for those who can't get enough of the brews, he'll start beer growler service for some old-fashioned refillable-beer-jug action.
Umami Burger: 850 S. La Brea Ave., Mid-City, (323) 931-3000.