Sam's Crispy Chicken (SamsCrispyChicken.com) and Umami Burger (UmamiBurger.com), both from C3 (Creating Culinary Communities) and both at 945 W. Randolph St., have launched new food and beverage menusalthough indulgence is still the name of the game. (Note: These items were delivered to me via DoorDash, and I had considerable more success with one than the otherbut I'll discuss that later.)
You can't go wrong with the basics, like Sam's Classic, with large chicken tenders, Sam's spice, pickles and classic sauce; and the Original Sam's Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which varies slightly with Sam's New Orleans-style spice, pickles, Cole slaw and classic sauce. (The Classic was deliciousalthough, at $8.50, people may wonder if they might get a better deal at one of the popular ubiquitous fast-food spots famous for their chicken sandwiches.)
But there's much more at Sam's than those two offerings. The popular (and trendy) Nashville Hot, the BBQ, the insanely hot Diablo and the Mac Melt (mac 'n cheese on toasted garlic bread, with bacon and provolone) sandwiches are also available, as well as the Onion Lover Tender Dog and Spicy Southern Tender Dog (both composed of chicken strips).
Appetizers/sides include Sam's Chik'n Wings (meatless Quorn Chik'n nuggets), various mac 'n cheese preparations (delicious, but in too-small proportions) and even fried pickles. In addition, there are various types of waffle fries, including Disco (in Sam's New Orleans style spice, topped with cheese sauce, gravy and scallions, with one sauce) and even Pizza (in Sam's New Orleans-style spice, topped with marinara, parmesan, shredded white cheddar and basil leaves, and served a sauce).
I also tried a blackberry lemon frozen lemonadea refreshing concoction of lemonade, blackberry puree and ice cream (vanilla or chocolate). This was the best part of the meal, for me. However, if you still have room, there are desserts as well, including peanut-butter cake, red velvet cake (a lovely, enormous slice) and ice cream. Incidentally, there are even cocktails, like the jalapeno margarita and the Old Fashioned (which is staging a huge comeback).
Umami Burger has just as many offerings as Sam's, if not morebut the process of getting this food turned out to be filled with errors. First, the food was delivered on time, but I was never notified. I contacted Umami and spoke with the general manager, who promised to replace my order; it arrived but I wasn't notified until 15 minutes after it arrivedand it was the wrong order (regular fries instead of cheesy potato tots).
Obviously, Umami can't control DoorDash, although getting the order wrong was strictly on the restaurant.
Again, I went with the basicthe Umami Burger, with Umami sauce, a four-ounce smash patty, lettuce, pickles, tomato, caramelized onions and American cheese. It was delicious, although I had the same thoughts about this item ($9.50) that I had about Sam's Classic. However, there are other tempting items that range from the Truffle Burger (with truffle aioli, truffle fondue and even a truffle glaze) to the Impossible Umami Burger to even the KTown Burger (with a smash patty, gochujang-marinated pork belly, Korean slaw, pickles and classic sauce).
(BTW, Umami Burger is teaming with international twin sister DJ duo NERVO for a limited-time-only burger to celebrate the debut of their new single "Pickle," featuring Paris Hilton and Tinie Tempah. The burger features the new Umami burger patty, provolone cheese, fried pickles and a special jalapeno pickle ranch, all on a brioche bun. Maybe that will appeal to you.)
Once I reheated the tater tots, they actually turned out to be high point of this meal. Filled with a three-cheese blend and topped with parmesan, they were gooey and delightful. However, if that's not your bag, Umami has onion rings, sweet-potato fries, truffle fries, chili-cheese fries, fried pickles and Umami Chik'n Wings (the latter two not surprising since it shares space with Sam's).
However, something that Umami has that might bring people in droves is its shakeor, should I say, its shakes. For example, the Chocolate Stout Shake contains chocolate stout ice cream, chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream; and the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Shake has vanilla ice crea, cinnamon syrup, sea salt and whipped cream. (And if that isn't enough, the shakes can be made "adult" (i.e., have alcohol added) for an additional fee.)