Closer Look: Umami Burger in South Beach

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The Original Umami Burger
The Cubano Burger at Umami Burger tastes like gravy-topped chicharrón. The grease-ridden concoction pairs a pork patty with a lightly toasted bun. Shaved ham, pineapple mustard, and molten cheese crown the fatty swine, summoning images of Havana, Hawaiian pizza, and heartburn. Each nibble makes your lips gleam and your fingers look gross. And then, once you're all done, your stomach feels even worse.

Though its burgers are far from ordinary, Umami Burger operates like a standard franchise — with a strongbox of classified recipes and procedures. Founder Adam Fleischman is a former food and wine writer credited with launching Los Angeles' first wine bars. He opened his original Umami in 2009 and built a booming brand around bold flavors. Each recipe stars umami, a category of taste that extends beyond sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Umami exists in tomatoes, mushrooms, fish sauce, bouillon cubes, and anything rife with MSG or glutamates. Each of Fleischman's creations stems from his unique food-as-science approach. His burgers manipulate palates and proffer a combination of things that should taste good.

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