Now Open: UMAMIcatessen is Going Whole Hog (and Deli, Burgers, and Donuts) in DTLA
What Broadway around 9th most definitely needs is a great restaurant, and with this weekend's soft opening, UMAMIcatessen is heeding the hungry cries of locals and visitors to the Downtown area that is undergoing a slow, but much-needed revival.
Adam Fleischman of UMAMI Burger fame is behind UMAMIcatessen, a sort of post-modern high-end food court restaurant adjacent to the Orpheum, where different "concepts" merge at your table, from new twists on good ol' coffee and donuts, beautiful cocktails, takes on classic deli fare, indulgent burgers, and guest chef's homage to the pig--err, PIGG--from "rooter to tooter."
In regards to the latter, it's San Francisco-based chef Chris Cosentino's PIGG that is all about the offal, but there's nothing awful about it. At the friends and family pre-launch preview party Friday night I was able to sample abundant fare from the eclectic menu, and fell pretty hard for some of the fun, crave-worthy dishes.
From the bar, great quaffs came courtesy cocktails like the 9th & Broad (Woodford Reserve bourbon, Carpano Antica formula, Apricot liquer and Jerry Thomas decanter bitters), the Red Sapphire (Bombay Sapphire gin, St Vincent raspberry syrup, Earl Grey tea syrup, Maraschino, fresh lemon juice and egg white), and the Urban Trader (Bacardi 8-year rum, Bacardi Superior rum, Apricot liqueur, St Vincent orgeat, pineapple and lime juices, finished with nutmeg).
Fleischman's "The Cure" deli concept showcases a fragrant Matzo Ball Soup and plump little potato knishes by Mezze chef Micah Wexler, while the UMAMI Burger menu's standout (and special item only available at the UMAMIcatessen) was hands-down the Shrimp Burger, though the freshly ground-on-the-hour meat used in their burgers is, as always, savory and sublime, and part of the success of the smaller, but flavor-dense bunned bundles. One of the best mash-ups is the Wasabi Potato Salad served with slices of fresh sashimi. When this thoughtfully revitalized former deli-space in a 1929 Art Deco building is ready to serve food at the bar, you'll likely find me there with a bowl of the potato salad and a couple of drinks, perfectly content to spoon the subtly-spiced and creamy baby potato chunks draped with velvety cool pink fish solo.
Cosentino's piggy love song is triumphant, with his canned lardo butter smeared onto toast, fries and crispy pig ears swiped through a concoction called "brainaise" (yes, pig's brain and aioli), and the hearty country pate with peppercorn and pistachios. For the true pork fanatic, you can opt to take a journey "Around the world in 8 hams" courtesy the PGG picks or Chef picks of porcine slices.
For dessert, or just a nosh, Spring for Coffee does craft espresso bevs, and uses beans like the local Handsome Roasters, and other favorites like Stumptown and Sightclass. Team up that coffee with offerings from & a Donut, like the beignets you can soak in a coffee sauce, or the supple and sweet tres leches donut.
Fleischman has called UMAMIcatessen "a playground for chefs and those who love to eat." Luckily, eaters will love to eat--and play--there, too.
UMAMIcatessen is operating until late March's official grand opening with varied hours, so call ahead to (213) 41-UMAMI to see if they're serving. Hours will eventually be 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily