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April 13, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
Umami Burger will be opening soon in Brookfield Place. I went up to their Greenwich Village location to try it out. I walked away feeling as if I was ripped off by a con artist of marketing.
Owned by Los Angeles restaurateur Adam Fleischman, Umami Burger is their first venture into the New York City market. One would think that the company would be placing their primo crew on top of this “flagship” store, but it is obvious from the outside storefront that it is neglected.
I ordered the classic “Umami Burger” with shiitake mushrooms and crispy cheese wafer (It was the only thing that did not have godforsaken “truffles” on it). The mushrooms would be better described by leaving out on of the “i’s” in the spelling, if you get my drift. They just made the top bun soggy and gross. Maybe in the hands of a proper chef it could have worked, but the minimum wage hacks in the mystery kitchen screwed it all up.
The French Fries are ultra-thin strings of oil soaked starch, so I ordered the “Tempora Onion Rings”. They were too greasy for my wimpy stomach.
The dessert menu is telling. Umami outsources desserts to other companies, such as the Little Pie Company (the Tribeca store went out of business). I wanted the chocolate chip ice cream sandwich without the “drizzle”. They could not accommodate me because they are pre-made and shipped in (So, how again is Umami Burger “fine dining?).
There is one feature that I liked about Umami Burger, however. Their dining room is much better than Shake Shack’s because they have waiters. Coincidentally, I had just made a recommendation to Danny Meyer to ditch the stupid remote buzzers and have staff bring out the food, thus removing one aspect of the “Hunger Games” fighting for a seat at Shake Shack.
In short, Umami Burger is another lame attempt to compete with Shake Shack, and they will fail. The menu is too ambitious and the burger toppings will be screwed up by the underpaid staff.
No one wants pay $25 for a burger and fries, as I did (I ordered water and still was set back $25 clams).