Thursday, October 13, 2011


Moscato With Umami Burger

Umami Burger has been all the rage among Los Angeles foodies.  It's been getting so much hype generated for the chain's five locations scattered about town that every time I drove by looking to try it out for myself, there was a line out the door and down the block waiting to get in.

I don't like waiting in line, especially long ones. That's why I hardly ever see a popular movie the weekend it's released.  That's why I don't go to the grocery store in the early evening when everyone else is there.  That's why I don't go to the DMV if I can help it.

I happened by the Studio City location - they call it Umami Valli - one Saturday around lunchtime and was stunned to see nobody waiting to crowd inside.  Peering in, the place didn't seem too busy at all. My Umami time had arrived.

In case you don't know about umami, it has been recognized as the fifth taste our palates pick up.  All these years we got along with only sweet, sour, salty and bitter.

Umami is the taste described as "savory."  Don't ask me why they didn't just call it "savory."  I hope this doesn't mean they're going to change sweet, sour, salty and bitter to Japanese words.  I have a tough enough time remembering English.

I sat at the bar - red leatherette chairs - to look over the menu, and immediately felt the need for a nice, cool glass of Moscato.  It's a feeling that doesn't come over me often, so I thought I'd indulge.

I noticed that behind the bar there were MAS wines on tap, right from the mini tank.  I asked the bartender about one selection on the list and was told "we don't carry that anymore."  My Moscato request took a while to fulfill, as the bottle was empty and he couldn't locate the corkscrew.  A bar without a corkscrew is in pretty sad shape.  After a few minutes the only corkscrew in the place was found and the wine was poured.  My bartender offered an apology and said, "somebody must have felt like they needed it."

I had the Mezzacorona Moscato 2010 Vignetti delle Dolomiti.  Grapes for this wine come from an area near Lake Garda in Northern Italy.

Pale in the glass, the nose is fruity with pears in the forefront.  The wine is off-dry and minerals and white peaches grace the palate.

I "went the other way" with my pairing, and had the Port and Stilton burger.  To my surprise, going the other way wasn't a bad idea.  The earthy cheese and Port-carmalized onions went together extremely well, and the wine added a touch of sweetness which really set off the umami.  Oh, so THAT'S what umami is!  And THAT'S why the line is always out the front door!

This Umami Burger location is loud and a bit warm.  The burger preparation goes on right in front of you and the kitchen heats up more than the meat.  The burger was $10 and the glass of Moscato cost $6.

Follow Randy Fuller on Twitter.

No comments:

Post a Comment