Location: 852 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014. 213-413-UMAMI (8626). @umamiburger
Date: April 20, 2012
Cuisine: Gastro Burger
Rating: Top Burgers
UMAMIcatessen is a rather peculiar concept (albeit one that works). Grafting Umami Burger, The Cure (high end deli) and P!GG (pork oriented charcuterie) together under one roof. Not to mention E&O donuts!
The triple menu. Click here for PDF.
The concept here of glomming together a bunch of different high end comfort food joints is kind of interesting. Basically it works as the flavors are unified by fat, plus the execution is good. It’s casual, fun, modern (not in an avant garde way). Basically jammed with flavor, so what’s to complain about?
For the bagel spread we have the onions — crucial for the lingering bad breath.
Cream cheese, normal and with chives.
Swiss and Muenster cheese.
Good nova lox.
And fresh baked bagels from a local bagel specialty bakery.
And this incredible donuts from a special place that fries them to order. They only make donuts and for an hour a day — fried chicken! These are three different variants of cinnamon. Certainly the best cinnamon donuts I’ve ever had.
Overall, another great brunch! You can check out last year’s here.
Location: 11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049. (310) 806-6464
Date: March 6, 2011
Cuisine: Market driven Californian
Rating: Not just your typical short order brunch — but better.
Tavern is a favorite midend brunch spot of ours. It’s much yummier than the typical short order grills, and not as gluttonous as the high end brunches (like this). I’ve reviewed it twice before HERE, HERE, and HERE, but the menu is seasonal and so always changing a bit.
Today’s menu. Online version can be found HERE, but it’s always changing and never current.
Double cap. Not a bad restaurant cappuccino.
Simple pancakes for the boy (2.4 years old).
“Market fish (salmon) with carrot purée, gingered beets and lime salsa.” I didn’t try it, but looked very good with a really nice selection of fresh ingredients.
“Pumpkin waffle with pecan butter and maple syrup.” What could go wrong with this?
“The Angeleno sandwich, artichokes, buratta, cavola nero, and meyer lemon. With prosciutto added.” I modified this vegetarian sandwich to add the good stuff (ham), and it turned out fantastic. The bread had the prefect texture and the burrata (more on that HERE), combined perfectly with the prosciutto and the marinated artichokes. The chips and pickles were awesome too.
“Sauteed Cavola Nero.” This wasn’t on the menu, but they did it anyway. The green is a kind of Italian Kale.
The dessert menu.
“Carrot cake with toasted walnuts and cinnamon anglaise.” Top example of the type, with a bit of creme anglaise in case the icing wasn’t rich enough.
“Snickers Bar, salted peanut caramel and vanilla ice cream.” Very nice dessert. Inside the hard dark chocolate shell was a kind of peanut and carmel mouse.
Tavern continues to hold up as a top breakfast spot, and pretty reasonable considering the level of sophistication.
Location: 395 Santa Monica PlSte 308Santa Monica, CA 90401. (310) 755-6220
Date: February 7, 2011
Cuisine: Modern Dim sum
Rating: A little heavy, but I’m glad to have some more good dim sum on the westside.
This one is more or less Chinese, but a sort of modern Chinese, and at lunch they serve real dim sum!
View from the patio. Lunch, on a monday, February. 79 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.
My brother presents the dim sum menu. This place is a lot like Ping Pong (REVIEW HERE), the modernized dim sum I went to in Washington DC. It doesn’t have the traditional cart format, like The Palace (REVIEW HERE). This has advantages and disadvantages. The carts allow more control over the pace of the meal, but made to order is fresher.
Chinese mustard, chili, there was also soy and various sauces served with different dishes.
“Chili Spare Riblets, Sweet Chili Sauce, Asian Slaw.” These were pretty meaty, but fried up like orange beef. Gratuitous, but pretty darn tasty.
“Shrimp and Mango Dumpling, Ground shrimp, mango, firecracker sauce.” Crunchy wanton fried, tasty shrimp and mango inside, and a zesty soil garlic scallion sauce. What’s not to like.
“Shrimp Dumpling ‘Ha Gow‘ Shrimp, Bamboo sShoots, Rice Wrap.” Classic Cantonese dumplings. Good examples of the type.
“Stuffed Eggplant with Shrimp, black bean sauce.”
“Crab Rangoon, Cream Cheese, Sweet Vinegar Reduction.” Not the totally typical rangoon, at least the sauce. Good though, and more filling than most examples. The sweetness of the sauce went nicely with the fry and the cheese.
“Kung Pao Chicken Lollipop, Sweet and Tangy, Crushed Cashews.” This was my least favorite dish, not that it was bad, but it was a little heavy, like hot wings crossed with that nut crusted chicken you sometimes get on the airplane. Very fried.
“Salt and Pepper Soft Shelled Crab, Fresh Chili, Spring Onion, Toasted Garlic.” This was some good crab. The only problem was that it cooled so fast. Basically, fried soft-shell. Nothing wrong with that.
“Candied Walnuts & Honeyed Prawns, Orange Zest & Frisee.” This is a variant of the classic prawn, walnuts in the sweet mayo sauce. This one is lighter, zestier, very yummy.
“Shanghai Dumpling, Pork, Ginger, garlic, Vinegar & Ginger.” These are basically the classic soup dumplings, but very good examples of the type, and nicely served with the vinegar in the little cups so that they don’t break apart on the steamer. Wow!
“Lobster Potstickers, shrimp, pan fried crisp.” These were some pretty awesome potstickers, typical on the outside, nice yummy lobster on the inside.
“Pork Siu Mai, Pork, Shrimp, Shitake, carrots, Egg Wrap.” Another typical dim sum dish, executed very well.
“Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice, ‘Lo Mai Gai’ egg, chinese sausage, dried shrimp.”
Open the little packet of joy.
Examine the goodies inside. Also an excellent example of type, one of the best I’ve had.
Cool couches and booths on the patio. Pretty slick spot. And the food was pretty tasty, and reasonable. The above feast was only $66 including tax! What makes the real difference here is that they have a real Hong Kong dim sum chef — so despite the corporate trappings and location, and the slightly jazzed up variants, this is some solid dim sum.
Traditionally, the ThanksGavin continues on Saturday with the deli brunch. In LA you just can’t get deli like you can in Philadelphia, with the partial exception of Brents. The locale was moved this year to cousin Abbe’s downtown.
A homemade frittata is whipped up.
The other half of the spread. My mom and aunt made the cream cheese, chive, onion, caper, and fresh lox “terrine.”
Saturday Deli Brunch (this post)