Umami Burger & Wings? The idea of elongating the name doesn’t seem so far-fetched after tasting a new menu item, the first-ever Umami wings ($9). They’re Japanese in flavor profile, marinated 12 hours in mirin, sake, soy sauce, and ginger before being fried to a crispy fare-thee-well, glazed, and garnished with fruity-hot red jalapeños. Wing-eaters should try—I think they’re among the best I’ve had in a restaurant.
I like that every Umami location offers an exclusive burger. In Anaheim, where I was invited to taste the new items, it’s a carnitas burger ($13). The signature Umami patty and melty Cali cheese (an Umami-made American cheese simulacrum) get topped with rich carnitas, avocado, romaine lettuce, tortilla strips, and a bracing tomatillo sauce. It reminded me structurally somewhat of another SoCal creation, the pastrami burger, and also of the multi-meat torta Cubana my husband orders at our favorite Mexican takeway. In other words, it’s right at home here.
Sparkling water note: I’m very glad to report that Umami stocks Badoit, my favorite sparkling water. I’ve previously found Badoit at Tangata in Bowers Museum and at Moulin—whose Newport Beach restaurant is about to be joined by a second in Laguna Beach opening next Tuesday, Sept. 27. Any other O.C. Badoit sightings? Let me know in the comments!