by Julie Besonen, 02/15/2012
Ahi Tuna burger. Courtesy, Umami Burger
432 Sixth Ave., 212-677-8626, Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Timing is everything at Umami Burger. Cronut-like insanity broke out on opening day (July 29), with the wait stretching to three hours. But hit the restaurant at that sweet spot between lunch and dinner and you may get lucky in as little as 10 minutes. Six-ounce, freshly ground patties are meticulously griddled to medium-rare doneness, and from the blissed-out looks all around, the wait lives up to the hype. This California-based phenomenon has plans to expand, but for right now the attractive, 60-seat Greenwich Village branch is ground zero for the original Umami Burger, a loose but not too crumbly patty with shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato and a lacy parmesan crisp in a puffy, slightly sweet, toasted bun branded with a "U." The Truffle Burger with roasted garlic aioli is magnificent, the fungus muted so it doesn't outshine the beef. In an Ahi Tuna burger, pickled ginger, wasabi flakes and avocado complement the patty. There are several other burger variations to choose from; the question, "Would you get the same one next time?" elicited the same response from all patrons asked: "I want to try them all."