At the start of the year, news broke that Umami Burger's big cheese, Adam Fleischman, planned an ambitious, multifaceted deli concept for Downtown L.A. Bearing the long-winded name Umamicatessen, the owner promised to staff the project with four chefs that everyone has heard of. We figured it would be a bunch of Top Chef rejects, but today, The L.A. Times fingers San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino as the first big name to join the project with a pork-centric restaurant within Umamicatessen named Pigg.
Fleischman's 170-seat deli will be a strange amalgam of five different chef-driven concepts, each with a limited selection of five to ten consummate deli dishes, plus a full bar within its walls. The carnivorous Cosentino, a noted devotee to all things offal, promises that Pigg will produce "pork out the wazoo," with early offerings of a Sicilian-style pig's ear sandwich and Iberico crudo.
Fleischman, meanwhile, might put another Umami location inside of the project (the first San Francisco location of Umami opened last week), as well as a dessert counter and his own deli concept called Cure.
Fleischman insists this won't be a Red O/Rick Bayless-style consulting project that finds the chef there in name only, but a restaurant one may actually spot Cosentino in, despite the fact that he lives up north and runs this restaurant, Incanto, and a sausage shop called Boccalone.
In addition to the San Francisco toque, Fleischman also plans to introduce a succession of guest-chefs to create their own temporary restaurants, telling the paper, "This is just a great opportunity for like-minded chefs to all be under one roof creating really fun concepts."