Saturday, October 31, 2009

In 'N' Out Could Expand with Some Help from Five Guys

I just polished off a tasty double cheese burger at a Five Guys. Damn that's a good burger, and consistent as hell no matter where I go.

In 'N' Out defends not expanding, because they feel that they can't grow with integrity. Heads up, boys--Five Guys is growing like a mothereffer, and they are maintaining integrity. It is possible, and Five Guys is kicking ass at it. They are breaking out of the regional mold and becoming a national chain.

In 'N' Out is an amazing American-style, smashed burger, and it would be excellent of them to expand beyond the current, self-imposed geographical constraints. The rationale for not doing so is no longer valid.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jackson Hole -- Upper West Side, NYC

517 Columbus Avenue
(between 84th St & 85th St)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 362-5177
http://www.jacksonholeburgers.com/

Always bewa
re a burger joint named for a different geographical location--it's like they think that they can then push the blame onto the suckiness of that regional cuisine. I call BULL on this. The Jackson Hole burger is a crappy burger no matter where you go. Gray, listless, dry, unseasoned, overcooked-it was awful. To make matters worse it's big--nothing worse than getting full on a crappy burger. Just a waste. The bun is flimsy, so at the end you are left with a handful of wet bun and grease. I give Jackson Hole the finger.

Burger Review : Craptastrophe!!! When you consider that Shake Shack is just down the street it's amazing that these purveyors of crappy burgers are still in business.


Rating...1 Bite


La Paryse -- Montreal, Canada

Let's face it, Montreal was a sick deal in the earlier part of this decade--it provided the value of Mexico, and the food and accommodations were amazing. It was like the entire country was throwing a half-price sale--it was even better. That's when I discovered La Paryse. Keep in mind that Montreal is not a great town for burgers--hell, Canada is not a great country for burgers. That said, La Paryse rocks out with its rooster out. That is one excellent burger. They do their best to screw it up with mayo and enough salad to feed a cow to make more burgers, but you can get them to leave all of that extraneous stuff off. Trust me, you don't want it on this burger. What you'll get is that half salad/half burger mutant disaster, and it's a sloppy mess. See?

Bun, burger, cheese, mustard on the side.............done. What you have is a great burger--it's big enough--it's well-aged, perfectly seared, and juicy. This is the best burger that I've had in Montreal. While ranking burgers in Canada is sort of like ranking whores by their morality, this burger is worthy of the excruciatingly high standards of the Burger Busters.

Burger Review : The best GD cheeseburger in Canada. Also, I'm pretty sure that they have a picture of Dr. Zaius on their ten dollar bills--which is awesome.

Rating...4 Bites

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Char-Grill -- Raleigh, NC


618 Hillsborough St
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 821-7636

Sweet GAWD, what a tasty, tasty burger. Imagine Five Guys but with a smokier finish. Just a damn fine drive in-style burger. No frills, just a righteous simple cheeseburger in a beautiful part of the world. Don't call ahead--fill out your order slip, present to cashier, wait 15 minutes while they cook your burger, and enjoy the smell of beef that fills the air--it's all part of the experience. Also the milkshakes are absolutely excellent.

Burger Review: That's a tasty burger.



Rating...4 Bites

Cheeseburger in Paradise -- Fort Myers, FL

5050 Daniels Pkwy
Fort Myers, FL 33912-1637
(239) 481-4386

It's a chain, but this is so GD bad that it needs a writeup. If by "Cheeseburger in Paradise" you mean Crappy Food in a Crappy Restaurant" then, bingo!

#1 Jimmy Buffet fans are like the GED version of Dave Matthews fans. Seriously, who in the hell needs a douche-themed restaurant?

#2 They actually hold a little ceremony at sunset every night---OOF

#3 EVERYTHING on the menu is junk. The chicken resembled hard-boiled, mummified rat. The burger--so nondescript and bland that it doesn't warrant a review.

#4 I would rather be forced to personally re-enact both roles in 2GirlsOneCup than to ever try to choke down anything in that place ever again.

Overview: Avoid this disaster-- Cheeseburger in Paradise--and Jimmy Buffet owes me 20 bucks.

Rating...1 Bite

Simmzy's -- Manhattan Beach, CA

229 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
(310) 546-1201
www.simmzys.com/

So here’s the deal. There was a long wait, the service was weak, and they were out of nearly every beer that I asked for. Oh, and the place was totally overrun with USC douchebags. The Simmzy’s Burger, however, was pretty good. The burger was cooked medium rare and very tasty. The bun was lightly toasted and soft. The toppings were light and subtle, and the smoked onions were a nice touch.

Though it was a good burger, I probably won’t be back. The wait was pretty long and the company was horrible.

Overview: Pretty good burger...douche-infested place

Rating...2 Bites

Good Times Burgers -- Denver, CO

Location--lots of places around Denver.
Website

I lived in Denver for a while, and these burgers were the closest that I could find to In 'N" Out or Five Guys. The burgers were flavorful, griddle cooked with a good sear, seasoned properly. Nothing fancy, just a straight up, honest, American-style burger. If you're in Denver, your choices are limited--Good Times Burger is the go to cheeseburger.

Burger Review : As good as it gets in Denver for a thin, American-style burger.

Rating...3 Bites

Cherry Cricket -- Denver, CO

2641 E. 2nd Ave.
Denver, CO
303-322-7666
Website

Big deal--so what? Ask anyone in Denver where the best burger is, and they will knee jerk with "Cherry Cricket." They will also drool if you ring a tiny bell. The burger is just OK--they pretty much vulcanize the patty, so I hope that you like your burger Med Well. Also, parking is a miserable bitch in that part of town.

The Sear--deep and rich
The Seasoning--what seasoning?
The Beef--I couldn't tell, but it was miserably bland

Burger Review : Don't bother--it was completely uninteresting.

Rating...2 Bites

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Counter -- Santa Monica, CA

2901 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405-2952
(310) 399-8383
http://www.thecounterburger.com/santamonica/


This is about as close to backyard BBQ as you can get. A nice, but not heavy char on the meat. The bun is buttered and toasted, so it resists turning into a sponge. The burger is on the greasy side, but nothing an extra 20 minutes on the treadmill won't take care of. This is the only place that I've ever been to that has more than one diet soda offering. Cooked perfectly, seasoned nicely, and a massive assortment of toppings to detract from an otherwise great burger. Enjoy.

Burger Review : Tasty-ass burger, which is worth going out of your way for.

Note--this burger has been re-reviewed, and the wheels have fallen off in terms of quality--this burger now sucks.

Red Mill Burgers -- Seattle, WA

1613 W Dravus St
Seattle, WA 98119-1720
(206) 284-6363
Website

You live in Seattle, so you've pretty much given up on going outside, sorry. Oddly, Seattle is burger wasteland. Dick's is just plain horrible, but at least it's open late. Red Mill is sort of a watered down version of Five Guys or In 'N' Out. It's good enough for Seattle, but not good enough for Burger Busters. It's a weak ass burger.

The only passable burger in that entire, waterlogged village is found at the Palace Kitchen (2030 5th Ave). Otherwise, you can just forget it.

Now, if it's a kick ass plate of heart-crushing, waist thickening biscuits and gravy that you need, then get your fat ass down to Beth's Cafe.

Beth's Cafe

www.bethscafe.com

7311 Aurora Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103-5356
(206) 782-5588

Burger Review : Whatever...on the burgers. Hell yes, on the biscuits and gravy.

Rating...2 Bites

Houston's Restaurant -- Los Angeles, CA

West Los Angeles
10250 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 45
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 557-1285

GAWD, what a well-reviewed puck of overcooked nonsense that thing was. I know, it's a chain, but it's a chain that kept getting reviewed well for their burgers. Heads up...most reviewers are non-chefs and couldn't cook their way out of a wet paper bag even if you started a hole in it for them.


If you order the Houston's burger med rare, prepare for disappointment. They will overcook it. I've tried 4 times--it was consistently overcooked. Frankly, the quality of the preparation and the meat makes the temperature a moot point. It was basically a ground chuck Frisbee--the bun was a pillowy, dry disaster that made want to curse out the poor soul that suggested that thing.


Burger Review : In LA--just go to The Stand down the street--the burgers were far better. The burgers at Houston's were pricey, overcooked and bland.

Rating...1 Bite

Rue 57 -- Midtown West -- NYC

60 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019
Sixth Ave.  and 57th
212-307-5656
http://www.rue57.com/


This was one of the best things about attending trade shows at the Hilton--Rue 57's competent burger and fries were a 5 minute walk, and I scheduled all of my lunch meetings there.

#1 They also served sushi, and maguro sashimi is a nice lead in to a Med Rare cheeseburger.

#2 They made a damn fine burger. It was a straight up, good burger in every aspect.  I never ever had a remotely negative experience there.

The burger was juicy, thick, French-style wad of ground round, and it had a lovely crust.  WANT.

Burger Review :  My Midtown burger of choice.

Rating...4 Bites

Nice Matin -- Upper West Side -- NYC

201 W 79th Street
(between Amsterdam Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-6423
www.nicematinnyc.com/


The Five Napkin Burger was once my favorite burger in all of NYC.  Now, not so much.  The quality fell off of a cliff.  Nice Matin is a lot like Neal Stephenson--great for about a decade and then a swift transistion into unpalatable.  Sad in both cases, because were fantastic. I can always re-read Stephenson (anything up to and including Cryptonomicon), but I can't go back and enjoy a Nice Matin burger from the good days. 

Before:  aged, juicy, firm, awesome.  

Now:  bland, greasy, insipid, mealy, WEAK.  

In general, someone needs to call a code on Nice Matin--it's just walking around dead and catering to tourists from the attached Lucerne hotel.  Maybe the talent all rushed of to 5 Napkin Burger---the chef's burger joint in another part of the city. Who the hell cares--the burger sucks at Nice Matin, and they should be ashamed of what they've done to the reputation. 


Keep in mind that the carmelized onions are greasy and will only contribute to the overall blandness of this once good, now crappy, burger.

Thank GAWD that the West Branch is open just a block a way to fill the high-end burger void.

Burger Review : Avoid this avalanche of blandness.


Rating...2 Bites

Craft in Century City, CA

10100 Constellation Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4604
(310) 279-4180
http://www.craftrestaurant.com

Complete, and overpriced crap. I think Tom Colicchio is an amazing chef, and I have had many stellar meals at Craft in NYC, but the burger at the LA location.....woof---DO NOT WANT.

Round one, aggressively overcooked---sent back---waited a long-ass time to receive a completely mediocre burger--too finely ground, lots of white, connective tissue, and the seasoning in the beef overpowered the flavor of the beef, which is sort of why I ordered, you know.. beef. Maybe Tom was too busy with Top Chef to maintain product quality --maybe there was a wolverine loose in the kitchen. Regardless of the reason---avoid this overpriced lump of sorrow, since a competent cheeseburger was clearly not in the repertoire of the Craft staff in Century City.

Burger Review : Not even close.

Rating...2 Bites

Rare Bar and Grill -- NYC -- Murray Hill

303 Lexington Ave (37th Street) Shelburne Hotel
New York, NY 10016
(212) 481-1999

Damn, fine burger. I liked the buffalo burger, because it was lean and flavorful (like me). The sweet potato fries came with a maple dressing (fantastic).

Back to the burger--it was s a truly good burger--not great, because there was nothing great about it, but it was competent and well-prepared with care and quality. I've been there on numerous occasions, and the burgers were consistently good.

Burger Review : Try this if you're in the neighborhood (Murray Hill)

Rating...3 Bites

Father's Office in Santa Monica, CA

1018 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 393-2337

Jerky food in a jerky establishment.

If you wish to view the legions gathering for the impending toolpocalypse, then come on down to Father's office on Montana. It was the worst. They should rename it The Toolbox. Also, the burger was crappy. Crappier still was that I had to wade through a sea of tools to try this crappy burger. Did I mention that the burger was crappy?

The burger was complete BS--it was a jerk off interpretation of a burger, so it sucked. It was a pain in the ass to eat, it was beyond greasy, and it was uninteresting. Frankly, the nasty thing barely tasted of beef.

Burger Review : Only a jackass would go there after reading this review, and you're not a jackass are you?

Rating...1 Bite

Hinano --Venice, CA

15 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292
(310) 822-3902


Parking was a mother at this location--it was worth it for this beautiful bargain of a burger.

The place was a dump, but I went to Hinano for a burger...a burger that happened to have been served at a beach dive bar.
  • The burgers were cheap and excellent--thin, pressed hard, and liberally seasoned with salt, pepper, and some extra spices.  
  • They were cooked on a hot griddle, so the sear was lovely, dark, and deep.  
  • The cheese--Cheddar just mild enough not to compete with the seasoning, but gooey enough to perfectly complement the crisp sear on the juicy patty.
  • The bun was yeasty, seeded, and toasted top and bottom.
  • No fries--a bag of chips, but let's face it, you don't need the fries or the chips. Deal with it, lard-monkey.
  • Sear in 20010
  • The drinks come in mugs out of the freezer...nice touch. 
Hinano hit the spot when it came to a simple, honest cheeseburger--no flair, no zazz---just an straight-forward burger.

Burger Review : A solid YES on the scale of Yes to No.

Rating...3 Bites

Revisited on 23AUG10--still awesome!

Revisited on 30MAY11--not as awesome--average sear--6 bucks for a 5 ounce disk of pre-frozen, pre-formed Chuck from Sysco Foods. The smaller beef patty was only mildly beefy, and it was cooked to near dryness.  The value that was once strong has ceased to be. It seemed that fame caught up with Hinano.

Meh---average.
Sear in 2011

Terminal 5 (JetBlue) JFK in NYC

John F. Kennedy Airport
Terminal 5

This is a two-for-one special. Surprisingly, the airport food at the JetBlue terminal at JFK does not suck--maybe not so surprising--JetBlue tends to generally not suck--good for them.

#1 5ive Steak -- stupid name, fine burger. A very competent, steakhouse-style burger. Nothing to write home about, but you're in an airport, so considering the context, count your blessings, Chachi. This burger checks all of the boxes, but it doesn't stand out in any one area. Also the burger is grilled rather than griddled, so it doesn't get that flavorful sear that is the mark of a standout burger---see #2

#2 Revolucion -- yep, a Mexican restaurant with the obligatory burger on the menu so that everyone is happy. That's what you think. This is a tasty burger. The griddled crust on this fat burger is especially flavorful, because they use the same griddle to cook all that chorizo and other stuff on---that flavor infuses the burger, and it is one hell of a lucky accident. All in all, an excellent burger, thick, well-prepared--no flaws. Considering you're in a GD airport, you're lucky to not be eating at Wendys.

Overview--Go for the Revolucion burger, and be grateful that JetBlue exists.

Rating...3 Bites

O'Connell's Pub in St. Louis, MO

Neighborhood: Southwest Garden
4652 Shaw Ave
Saint Louis, MO 63110
(314) 773-6600

First off, Saint Louis (if there even is one) must be the patron saint of lousy burgers and generally mediocre crap. Have you ever been to St. Louis? It sucks. Everyone that I have ever met from St. Louis is an idiot. All readers of this site are exempt. Also, the O'Connell's Pub burger is crap.

#1--the place is a dump. It smells like an ashtray made out of wet dog fur.

#2--the burger is cheap, and it tastes cheap--completely bland and unmemorable.

#3--there is no #3--it's a lousy burger.

Overview: St. Louis is a lousy town with lousy burgers. Other burgers were sampled--they also sucked.

Rating...1 Bite

For further proof of the douchebaggery that is St. Louis and its spawn: The tool on the left, with the man boobs, he's from St. Louis--yeah--so there--see?

Interesting fact: Not one single person died on the St. Louis Gateway Arch construction project. PUSSIES--that means that they did not build it high enough. Leave it to St. Louis to suck the danger out of a construction project by going weak in terms of scale. Awesomeness of monuments should be measured in death tolls--that's why you can't top the Great Pyramid or the Great Wall of China. They has the word "great" in them, because a great number of people died while building them--that's what makes them freaking great. When The Burger Busters rule the country, St. Louis shall be reduced to a great, smoldering hole in the earth.

Le Tub -- Hollywood, FL

1100 N Ocean Dr
Hollywood, FL 33019-3309
(954) 921-9425
www.theletub.com

First off---it's in Florida, and even the name of the state ends in "duh," so get ready, Chester--this is a review of a crappy burger.

GD Esquire rated this one of the top ten burgers in the nation. I should send them an invoice for my lunch tab and gas money---dicks.

Apps--the fish dip--Costco--PASS.

My burger--BIG, dull, overcooked, underseasoned, grayish, wet, rubbery crust under an unpleasant layer of char on a mealy, cool bun. PURE CRAP. The American cheese never really melted, since it was tossed on as an afterthought during the assembly process.  The untoasted bun served to keep the cheese from melting.

This burger is to be avoided. In fact, due to the hype, the place should be bulldozed and the ground and salted so that nothing ever grows there again.

I was a bland, thick, greasy mess of a cheeseburger. It was the sort of thing that one would expect to get at the Costco food court. Big, bland, and low quality.

Get this--no AC, and it's in Florida--so you can sweat while eating this crapwich. You have been warned.

Oh, they pimped this nasty thing on Oprah.  I have to imagine that it was Fat Oprah.

Burger Review : Do not want this crappy burger.

Rating...1 Bite

Shake Shack in NYC -- Upper West Side

Neighborhood: Upper West Side
366 Columbus Ave
(between 77th St & 78th St)
New York, NY 10024
(646) 747-8770

This is a STRONG "go to" burger.  NYC has a  ton of half assery when it comes to cheeseburgers. Everyone gets completely wet over the Corner Bistro crappy burger). Some rave about Big Nicks (crappy burger). There are those that lose it over the truffle/foi gras burger at BLT (crappy, expensive burger).  To set the record straight--those people are idiots and don't know a decent burger from a hamper full of diapers.

The Shake Shack burger is the pinnacle of the fast food burger--it forms a perfect tripod (frigging stable, man) with its cohorts in excellence Five Guys and SmashBurger  *hand over heart for a brief moment of silence*  Seriously, get in there.

The Burger Breakdown...
  • It was a perfectly griddled, juicy, salty, beefy, cheesy puck of goodness.  
  • The bun just worked, and was not memorable.  GOOD---you should not be aware of the damn bun.  That's sort of like remembering the underwear that you peeled off of the last girl that you were with.  It's just packaging---focus on what matters.  Where was I? 
  • The crust from the griddle was just right, almost burned, but not quite, so no char--just a perfect sear

Pro Tip----Avoid the Shack Stack--it sounds awesome--a breaded, deep-fried, portabello mushroom inside a cheeseburger. I know, I know---it looks awesome.  NO!.  It was gritty and greasy, and it just dulled the beef flavor.  There, you have been warned.

Burger Review : Good, frigging burger--right up there with Five Guys.

Rating...4 Bites

OLiVES at the Via Bellagio Shops in Las Vegas -- HOLY Crap!

Bellagio Resort and Casino
3600 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 693-8181

Hands down the best burger ever busted. I've been going there for several years, and I have never had anything less than an exceptional cheeseburger at OLiVES, and by "exceptional" I mean "fanfreakingtastic." Long after this civilization has fallen, they will still tell tales of the OLiVES Burger over camp fires and in space craft.  The OLiVES cheeseburger was the best thing in Las Vegas that was not sporting boobs.

The OLiVES Burger only happens at lunch, to the best of my knowledge, and it is well worth getting up for.

I started with the braised squid and octopus app, which was just sick--even if you don't like octopus, you will love this--the dish was transcendent--Enough GD seafood---- strap in for a burgergasm.

Photo by http://rivercityfoodwine.blogspot.com/2009/02/las-vegas-round-up.html
The Beef: This was about 10 ounces of dry-aged rib and sirloin fat cut back in for added flavor and moisture.  It was all juiciness, blood, funk, and beefy steak flavors with plenty of iron to round out the flavor profile. Dijon mustard only (if anything) with this burger. If I catch you eating it with ketchup, I will show up with an ass whipping.

The Preparation: The proprietary blend was ground to medium coarse to preserve the steak textures. Very delicate pressure was applied when forming the large patties, and this created a toothsome but not chewy burger. Med Rare is the only way to go, and they have always nailed it.

The Sear: OLiVES delivered a perfect, deep, sear from a hot, gas-fired grill. The burger had a perfect salty crust and was just juicy enough to saturate the bun with blood and juice without overloading it and making it soggy. 

The Seasoning: The beef was nicely and evenly seasoned inside and out.

The Bun: The bun was a sweet, moist, just chewy enough, toasted brioche. 

The Cheese: What they provided was a salty, rich, and creamy, Vermont, white cheddar. This was melted/draped over the burger to provide a perfect mouth feel.

The Meat to Bun Ratio: This was so precise that the very last bite left my fingers dry with a cohesive bite of meat and bun, which had the same mouth feel as the first. The burger patty was sized exactly to bun so that every bite contained the same portion of meat and bun. It was like Todd English set up a lab in the back and had engineers with calipers creating the food.
    The Fries: Sweet gawd---the fries!  They were like savory, crispy packages of mashed potatoes with truffle oil and Parmesan---so good.  They were thick cut steak fries, which were battered in Parmesan and cooked in properly hot oil.

    The Value: I have taken at least 15 people to Olives and all of them swore that it was the best burger that they have ever eaten. That made $18 ($25 with shaved truffles) a small price to pay.

    Burger Review :  In case you didn't get the gist---- SUPER  AWESOME --- this is the #1 burger in the US.

    Rating...5 GLORIOUS Bites 

    Editor's Note: This burger was re-reviewed on 07JUN11 after OLiVES changed chefs and beef. The result was an unfortunate slide into the Average range. This is now a 3 Bites burger. The price was reduced for $18 for the standard burger and $20 for the truffled cheese burger, but since the quality had decreased appreciably, the value was still not commensurate. The beef was tasty but far too oily, and the once glorious fries were reduced to a shadow of their former greatness.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009

    Howard's Famous Bacon & Avocado Burgers

    11127 Venice Blvd Ste 7
    Los Angeles, CA 90034
    (310) 838-9111
     

    Ready...Set...Terrible!  Holy crap...what a pig awful mess this was.  In spite of a buttered bun and a slice of avocado, the  burger still managed to be dry and joyless. Just plain sad.  Do one thing and do it right.  They even managed to suck the fun out of the bacon---freaking bacon!!!--they do this by deep frying the bacon instead of griddling it.  This is a super douche move, because all of the flavor is left in the fryer.  A completely insipid cheeseburger:
    • Dry bun
    • Dry, thin patty
    • No seasoning
    • Bland as sand
    • Slow service
    • No AC
    • Crappy burger


    Burger Review :NO!

    Rating...1 Bite




    Umami Burger -- Los Angeles, CA

    The Truffle Burger
    850 S La Brea Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA
    (323) 931-3000
    http://www.umamiburger.com/


    The Manly Burger
    This burger was the gold standard (so far) for burgers in LA. It was a perfect thing. The meat-to-bun ratio was dead on--the meat was expertly, ground, seasoned, formed, and seared. It appeared to be a little on the small side, but it was rich enough that when I finished the last bite, I was left perfectly satisfied. Everyone at Umami Burger was passionate about cheeseburgers, and it really showed. WANT.

    As you can see, they ground it, seasoned it, and pretty much left it alone. Over-manipulating the ground blend is a recipe for a rubbery burger where the freshly severed protein bonds make complex new ones. That's why croissants are flaky--lots of fat and the dough is very gently kneaded so as not to create long, gluten strands. In this case, what I got was tiny pieces of perfectly seasoned steak.  WIN.


    There is a new location in West Hollywood, which we have yet to try, but if they can maintain the passion and quality, then it will be excellent.

    Burger Review : Umami Burger....HELL YEAH!

    Rating...5 Bites

    Note--The Santa Monica location was sampled and reviewed on 15OCT10, and the excellence and passion were still evident. 

    Hole in the Wall -- Burger Joint in West Los Angeles

    11058 Santa Monica Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90025
    (310) 312-3632
    www.holeinthewallburgerjoint.com

     

    This is a perfect example of how a burger bun can distract and weaken the overall burger experience. It seems they intended to put their stamp on the burger by getting jiggy and creative with the bun. Stop it! The purpose of the bun is to compliment the burger rather than overwhelm the burger. It's a shame because the burger itself was pretty decent, and they choose to wrap it in thick and stale bread that resembled a week old dish sponge. They did have additional options of bread including the "pretzel bun," but I chose to stay away from the gimmicks. If you have tried this please feel free to leave your comments.

    Burger Review : Strong burger + Weak bun = Whatever!

    Rating...2 Bites

    Tavern -- Brentwood, Los Angeles, CA

    11648 San Vicente Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90049
    (310) 806-6464

    Sadly, this burger is nowhere near being worthy of the attention or the price tag. This evening's rendition was absolutely insipid.

    The beef added nothing but bulk to the dish--no satisfying crust, no rich, no seasonings in or on, no aged beef funkiness, and the grind was fine enough to make it resemble baby food in both taste and texture.

    The bun would really work with a flavorful version of this burger. The dough was worked just a touch longer than a proper scone, which meant that the gluten strands were sufficiently short as to not create a chewy product. This yielded a perfect, but bland mouth feel.

    One should definitely pass on the rings. The rings were greasy to the touch and greasier in the mouth--"crunchy, oil sponges" comes to mind. It is no wonder that not a single staff member asked our table how our food was (during and after the meal)--the answer would have been "disappointing." So it goes...I'm sure that other menu items at Tavern, are wonderful (the heirloom tomatoes were very nice), but I would not recommend this burger to any of my friends.

    Burger Review : Just flat out disappointing.

    Rating...1 Bite

    Apple Pan -- Rancho Park, CA

    Neighborhood: West Los Angeles
    10801 W Pico Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90064
    (310) 475-3585

    I just sampled the Steakburger at Apple Pan, and the cloyingly sweet relish overpowered the burger and the cheddar. The burger was BLAND--no seasoning in the mix or on the griddle. The establishment is a groovy throwback to the 50's but the burger is simply not good enough.
    I'm bummed, because the place is about a mile from my house. I wanted this to be good. So much for hopes and dreams.

    Burger Review : If you want some burger with your relish this is the place to go!

    Rating...1 Bite

    25 Degrees -- Hollywood, CA

    Neighborhood: Hollywood
    Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
    7000 Hollywood Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90028
    (323) 785-7244

    Save your money, folks. The burger at 25 Degrees was a sad affair. The service was both inattentive and poorly timed (crappy). But on to the food. Great rings and tasty fries. The burger meat itself was great--I was keenly aware that it was sirloin, and that was a good thing. Both burgers were overcooked (crappy), and the bun was a craptastic disaster (crappy). The top of bun was tough and dry enough to make a "thock" sound when tapped with a fingernail. It basically overwhelmed the burger with dry joylessness. The bottom of the bun, also a shamefully overbaked puck of parched, crumbling sadness. The cheese was not melted over the burger, but simply served as an unmelted pile of gunk at the center of the burger (crappy), which then had to be scraped from the bun and spread evenly over the patty to make it resemble a cheeseburger.

    The high point is that the waitress must have stuffed two angels down the back of her pants to present such a compelling view. So, the highlights---Good sides, good sights, good sirloin.

    Burger Review : 25 Degrees was weak and can be avoided.

    Rating...2 Bites

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