Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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'Top Chef's' sweet take on a burger

A Monte Cristo burger from Umami.

'Top Chef's' sweet take on a burger

Monte Cristo burger designed by Michael Voltaggio for Umami Burger.
Monte Cristo burger designed by Michael Voltaggio for Umami Burger. via Umami Burger

The recent spate of food mashups has birthed such creations as the Cronut, the Dayknish, and Doritos Locos Tacos.

Michael Voltaggio, winner of Top Chef's sixth season, has devised the Monte Cristo burger, a takeoff on the ham-and-cheese sandwich, for the better-burger chain Umami Burger.

He smothered the burger in Gruyere cheese fondue and prosciutto, layered it on a custard-dipped, fried bun, topped it with powdered sugar and served it with a side of maple syrup. (The press release says, "I wanted to make a burger that would hit the spot no matter if you're craving something sweet or savory.")

The Monte Cristo burger is on sale for a limited time at Umami's outlets - which happen to be in California, South Beach and New York. A buck from each $15 burger goes to the Los Angeles Mission, which helps the homeless. (A previous Umami burger, created by Guns N Roses alum Slash, raised $14,000 for the Los Angeles Youth Network.)

Philly happens to be high on Umami's list of cities in which to open. My Umami source says the search has been narrowed to a couple locations.

Another source IDs one possible location as the old Letto Deli on 13th Street near Locust.

Here's a great backgrounder on Umami Burger, whose founder, Adam Fleishman, earlier this month stepped down from day-to-day operations at the 21-store chain to focus on new restaurant concepts.

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Michael Klein
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here. Reach Michael at

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