Umami Santa Monica has opened finally at 500 Broadway in Santa Monica. It is located almost in the Fred Siegel Store. Parking is not a problem as there is a large parking lot – free!
Bottom line: owner Adam Fleischman has a winner. This is the 4th Umami to open and the Westside couldn’t wait.
April 7th Umami had a special party with mini burgers paired with French wines for $35. Chef Jordan Kahn did the first course and dessert. A word about Chef Kahn – he has quite an impressive resume starting at French Laundry, then Per Se, then Alinea, then Varietal and finally Mina’s XIV in Los Angeles. He is currently pursuing his own restaurant project – he is definitely a chef to watch. David Haskell, known for his innovative wine pairings and his well-developed palate (full disclosure – my son) did the wine pairings. David’s resume is also impressive from Guy Savoy in Paris to Le Cirque and Acquavit in New York, to Aubergine in Newport Beach, to owner of Bin 8945 in West Hollywood to Vertical Wine Bistro in Pasadena. David is also pursuing his own project.
The room is casual but well-laid out. I can see many happy hours at the bar, sitting at one of the tables or lounging outside on the patio.
Chicken Liver Mousse with homemade apricot marmalade and compote, air dried bacon, pickled pearl onions, pistachio – done by Chef Kahn. As busy as Adam was, he was kind enough to give me detailed descriptions of each of the dishes. He also explained that this was based on a Jean Louis Palladin recipe – one of my all-time favorite chefs. This could have graced the table of any fine dining restaurant anywhere.
Turkey Miso Burger with a Beef Reduction. All the buns are from a Portuguese Bakery and they are superb. What sets this burger apart from other burgers is the combination of ingredients – you feel as if you are eating something specially created and carefully crafted.
Midwestern, Corn-Fed Beef Burger, Homemade American white cheese, Mushroom, Grilled Onions with tater Tots and Ketchup. This was based on their famous Umami Burger. This is a fabulous combination!
A photo to drool over.
Lamb Burger, Katifi, Pickled Onions, Shaved Cucumber, Honey Harissa Sauce, Tempura Onion Rings – this had a North African element with the Harissa and undeniably a “5th taste.”
Dessert by Chef Kahn – This was a very intricate dessert and I am not sure I got each component correctly. As best as I can remember from my lousy notes – Nutella custard, popcorn mousse, puffed rice, financier, cherry pate – unbelievable.
A wonderful evening with great people, good wine and food and an excellent vibe for young and old alike. What more can one ask for?