warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Umami Burger Launches Limited-Time Monte Cristo Burger

Kelli Shiroma |
January 29, 2014 | 7:26 a.m. PST

Food Editor

The “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” Burger is only available at Umami Burger for a limited time (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
The “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” Burger is only available at Umami Burger for a limited time (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
On Jan. 28, Umami Burger launched its first ever, limited-time “Monte Cristo Burger.” This burger, available at all Umami locations, will only be served for the next six weeks, according to Royle Kim, kitchen manager at the Umami Arts District restaurant

“It’s actually called ‘The Voltaggio Monte Cristo,’ named after ‘Top Chef’ [season 6] winner Michael Voltaggio,” Kim explains. “At Umami, we get with a lot of good chefs and celebrities and we make burgers for them from what inspires them. We get ideas from them and we call the burgers after those people.”

The “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” is a decadent sweet-savory medley. Kim describes it as a “donut burger.”

“We take our signature buns and dip them in a custard batter, then we’ll deep fry that,” he says. “We have our signature burgers in there, along with a slice of Busseto Prosciutto and Gruyere cheese fondue. Then we top that off with a dusting of powdered sugar and we serve that long with pure maple syrup.”

A close-up of the “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
A close-up of the “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
“We’ve had a good amount of people wanting to try it,” he says at the time of our interview, around 6:30 p.m. on the day of the burger’s debut. “It’s a little rich, so some people are a little hesitant about it. But when you taste it, it’s really good in terms of flavor.”

The company’s twist on the classic Monte Cristo certainly contains an explosion of flavor in every bite. The savory burger, topped with the cheese fondue, blends perfectly with a drizzle of maple syrup on top. The fried buns themselves are unique, providing a decadently different texture to the traditional burger — they almost taste fritter like, bringing a crunch to every bite. The sweetness is there but not overwhelming; this burger is the perfect salty-sweet combo. In fact, the maple syrup is not even needed, as the burger itself has lots of flavor from the patty, cheese and bun texture.

A delicious cross-section of the “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
A delicious cross-section of the “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” (Kelli Shiroma / Neon Tommy).
Each “Voltaggio Monte Cristo” cost $15 and for every burger sold, $1 goes to the Los Angeles Mission.

“I wanted to make a burger that would hit the spot no matter if you’re craving something sweet or savory,” said Voltaggio, in a press release. “[Also the Los Angeles Mission] do a ton of good for people in need and this is a great way to give back.” 

Besides the “Voltaggio Monte Cristo,” Umami will be featuring another limited-time burger to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This creation—appropriately called the “Heartstopper”—will only be served on Feb. 14, Kim says. 

“We actually sell this burger each Valentine’s Day throughout the Umami company,” he says. “It’s our signature beef patty topped with a crispy truffle bacon ricotta and goat cheese hearts, crispy shiitake mushrooms, wild baby arugula and a truffle port reduction. It’s served on a toasted bun dressed with roasted garlic aioli and garnished with an edible flower. It’s cute; we make a heart out of our cheese.”

The Arts District location is one of the newer Umami restaurants; it opened last September and is a hotspot on Friday and Saturday nights. But, since the eatery is a bit tucked away inside the L.A. Arts District, Kim acknowledges that it’s a little less crowded than other Umami locations. However, business is doing well, and customer favorites like the signature “Truffle Burger” and “Truffle Fries”—thin French Fries topped with truffle cheese and truffle salt—are ever popular. 

Each Umami restaurant sports a burger unique to its location; the Arts District eatery features what it dubs the “Arts District Manly Burger.”

“We blend our beef patty with our signature beef and applewood smoked bacon,” Kim explains. “We top that off with a beer cheddar cheese, some braised pork belly and we serve that with a baconnaise. The bun is actually toasted with bacon fat. It’s bacon on bacon—not only are you getting bacon in the beef patty, you’re getting the pork belly, also.”

Kim encourages customers to stay up to date with all Umami offers through the eatery’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram … especially since the restaurant constantly refreshes its menu with seasonal burgers and limited-time offers.

“That way, we keep things fresh,” he concludes. 

Reach Kelli Shiroma here or follow her on Twitter.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.