West Coast favorite Umami Burger recently opened their first NYC location in the West Village and we were there on the first day. I didn't exactly plan it that way but we happened to have some business in the area and decided to drop by for lunch. Hubster might like burgers or something. There was already a small line when we arrived just before noon and we waited over 20 minutes to get in even though the place was pretty much empty. This was part of some sort of PR move for hype building, I guess. I opted for the signature Umami Burger which is topped with shitake mushroom, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, a parmesan crisp and special umami ketchup. It was nice to have the option get it bun-less which I did. Hubster ordered the Manly Burger that's made with beer cheddar cheese, smoked salt onion strings and bacon lardon. My burger tasted pretty good even though it fell apart into ground meat bits by the second bite. I don't normally care for ketchup but the umami (Japanese word meaning pleasant savory taste) was to my liking. Hubster's burger might've been decent if it hadn't become inedibly salty before he was even halfway through it. Fortunately our sides of cheesy tots and sweet potato fries were better. The service was friendly enough but scattered which was puzzling since the dining room was nowhere near full and they were quite adequately staffed. My burger came out on a bun even though I ordered it without and they weren't exactly apologetic about it either and then someone came and set the other side of the table next to us while we were eating and returned to remove it a few minutes later. Our waitress was borderline pushy with the up-selling which was annoying. Both the food and experience were a disappointment and considering our tab was almost $50 with tip, we expected better. Needless to say, we don't buy the hype and have no plans to return. Shake Shack really is so much better and costs way less too. I recently tried their new fresh cut fries and they're fantastic! I hope they'll make their way downtown soon.
432 Sixth Avenue (9th & 10th)
New York City