When I have an excuse to venture out on the town and explore a new area, I have to oblige. So that’s exactly what I did when I was invited over to Umami Burger’s new location in the West Loop on Randolph restaurant row. Umami Burger is a burger chain with another location in Wicker Park in Chicago, but they just opened their doors to their new location with new menu items as well. If you’re curious about their name, they’re named after the fifth basic taste that corresponds to savory (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). And their menu absolutely fills that niche.
We sampled a fair amount of their appetizers, and of course a few of their burgers. Boy, were we not prepared. I swear, the only way I could have prepped better is if I starved myself for a few days beforehand. Everything at Umami burger is ordered a la carte so you can mix and match appetizers, sides, entrees and create the perfect dining experience for yourself. We were served Japanese style wings, Gochujang & Guava Short Rib Sliders, Butter Corn, Caramelized Brussel Sprouts, the Crispy Diablo (a chicken burger), the Monte Cristo and our choice of burger. We went for the classic Umami Burger.
Our favorites were the caramelized brussel sprouts that had a bit of pork belly mixed in, the wings, and the Crispy Diablo. If we went back those would be what we would order, for sure. Maybe their short rib sliders if I was really feeling hungry. Their Umami burger was a bit overpowering for me. There were a fair amount of mushrooms on the burger and I felt like I could only taste the mushrooms and not the burger or their special house-made ketchup. It also fell apart super quickly! I prefer my burgers to be a bit more simple so I can really enjoy the flavor of the beef.
We finished it all off with trying to tackle the Monte Cristo for last as somewhat of a dessert. Again, it fell apart pretty quickly. My boyfriend’s tip to not making a total mess was to stuff it in your face and eat it faster. The bacon was thick and cooked perfectly, the bun was to die for, and I had fun dipping it in their maple syrup on the side. But yes, I made a total mess. Unfortunately at this point, I was so stuffed that I was only able to get a few bites in at the restaurant before I threw in the towel. We got take-out containers for the wings, brussels, and the Monte Cristo. And the day after leftovers were almost as good as when they were served to us fresh 😉
For drinks, we had a couple different cocktails. First was the GreenS6, which had matcha powder and grassy/cucumber notes. Honestly, it seemed like a watered down Green Machine. A bit too healthy for my alcohol for me. Andy also ordered a spritzer of some sort, I didn’t get the name (SORRY!). It was light and refreshing, great for a hot summer day. But again, if I’m going to be drinking liquor, I prefer my drinks a bit more punchy.
Overall, I think Umami Burger has great potential. Their appetizers are a great place to start off a fun night in Randolph Restaurant Row. I’d just like to see some more of their cocktails, try a different burger, and how the staff are getting to know their way around the restaurant after it’s grand opening. The first few nights are always a bit rough.
Umami Burger. 945 W. Randolph St. (312) 226-9919. open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.