Wednesday 21 May, 2014

Jose Andres has a Burger–and it’s at Umamiburger

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World-renowned Spanish Chef Jose Andres (Time's 100 Most Influential list: Jaleo, The Bazaar, minibar, ChinaPoblano and other restaurants) has gotten into the burger biz. Well, sort of. For a limited time, he paired up with Adam Fleischman's Umamiburger to offer a special burger and tapas menu at every outlet of the LA-based booming fancy burger chain.

So of course I had to try it.

I shouldn't have been surprised that the Spaniard took the "ham" in "hamburger" literally: his take features a grind of fresh pork and jamon serrano, cooked medium (yes, still pink inside) on Umami's "signature" soft-rustic toasted bun, and topped with a piquillo pepper confit, caramelized onions, and Manchego cheese.

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The result? Juicy, salty, savory, a little sweet and a little crispy. Sloppier than most Umamiburgers I've had, but not so much that it turns into a mess. It wasn't the sort of thing I might order every day, but I liked it. ($16)

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Andres' menu also offers three classic tapas/pintxos, each of which comes as three bites for $2: Green olives with a bit of white anchovy and a bit of confit piquillo; Jamon Serrano-wrapped dates, fried and finished in umami sherry vinegar; and "Patatas Bravas," twice-cooked crispy potato medallions swimming in a rich and smoky red pepper sauce with a dab of garlic aioli. You could create a great happy hour for yourself ordering a few of these and a glass of red or white wine from Umami's surprisingly strong list.

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Previous burgers in the for-charity Artist Series were created by singer Mayer Hawthorne, guitarist Slash and Ink Chef Michael Voltaggio. Andres' burgers donate $1 each to his own World Central Kitchen charity.

Umamiburger's next outlet will be in Las Vegas at the new SLS Hotel & Casino. Even though the Vegas Strip is pretty burger-filled already, I think people will be excited about this one.

More About Umamiburger and Jose Andres