Ever since the news of expansion dropped over a year ago, West Coast transplants and burger enthusiasts all over New York have been counting down the seconds until Umami Burger opens it doors in the West Village. To work the hype into even more of a fever pitch, New York Magazine has run a profile of Adam Fleischman, the man behind the chain, or as he’d rather put it, the “restaurant group.” The piece, penned by New York’s restaurant critic Adam Platt, is fairly comprehensive, taking us from Umami’s origins in Fleischman’s home kitchen to the niche he sees Umami occupying within the New York burger scene. Essentially, Fleischman believes he’s created a “forward-looking burger” that’s less expensive than the Black Label at Minetta Tavern, and (he claims) just plain better than the ShackBurger at Shake Shack. (“We’re not copying anyone,” he tells Platt. “We’re not copying Shake Shack. We’re creating a whole new genre.”)
After a visit to L.A. to sample the patties, Platt is pretty convinced of Umami’s appeal. Writing about the Greenbird, Platt notes, “In taste and texture, it’s about as different from your standard-issue East Coast turkey burger as a bag of frozen shrimp is from a fresh-cooked lobster just hauled off the coast of Maine.” It comes as little surprise, since we also learn the painstaking trial and error that went into creating flavorings like “Umami Master Sauce” and locating the top-secret Portuguese bakery in L.A. that makes Umami’s buns, all of which are stamped with the restaurant’s signature logo.
There are currently three locations of Umami set to open in the next year—in addition to the West Village spot, there will be Umami Burgers in Williamsburg and the Financial District. If New Yorkers are half as convinced as Platt, further expansion seems all but certain.
[via New York Mag]