Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bouchon -- Beverly Hills, CA

235 N Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, California 90210
310-271-9910
website





 


Bouchon is Chef Thomas Keller’s LA outpost. Bouchon is located on Canon in Beverly Hills, and it is just two blocks from the disastrous (for burgers) The Farm of Beverly Hills.  Parking was free in the garage directly below the restaurant.  Fat Bruce Lee, myself, and company were seated immediately for lunch, and our waiter was very knowledgeable about the menu. 

The Burger Breakdown:

The Beef: The beef in the Bouchon burgers was a finely ground blend of Chuck, Brisket, and Sirloin.  The grinding of the beef was done on site. Once ground, this beef was simply left alone. The patties were flavorful with powerful notes of beef from the Chuck, complex mineral flavors from the sirloin, richness from the fat in the Brisket. Also present was a gentle end note of funk from the aging.  The beef was juicy without being greasy.  It should be noted, however, that the beef was so finely ground that it was difficult to differentiate the mouth feel of the beef from the bun or the cheese. This created a tuna casserole feel, in terms of texture, which detracted from the obvious quality of the ingredients.

The Sear: There was no sear. A sear would have been a winner here. This burger was flavorful and beefy, but it was lacking in texture. While the low and even temperature style of cooking was technically impressive, it fell flat in terms providing an interesting and expected shift in texture to the dish. However, the eggs on the Croque Madames that were being delivered to the tables around us benefited greatly from  an application of this same cooking technique. We, ladies and gentlemen, are not the Croque Madame Busters.

The Seasoning: This was ample and even.  The seasoning on the cheeseburger at Bouchon was absolutely perfect.

The Preparation: The freshly and finely ground blend of beef was gently formed into large, thick, even, flat patties. The patties were gas grilled to Med-Rare, but at such a low and even temperature that no sear/Maillard reaction took place except at the very edges and where the grill made intimate contact with the patty—even this was negligible. The sirloin in the blend should have been ground far more coarsely so that there was something to chew on—a burger that contains steak should feel like a burger that contains steak. Too much “melt in your mouth” can lead towards a feeling of blandness. This was completely discordant with the strong flavors that wove their way through the dish.

The Cheese: This was a booming Yellow, Aged, Vermont Cheddar.  The cheese was a monster.  It was dangerously close to overwhelming the burger with its strong notes of salt and iron.  The cheese was aged to the point where salt had formed crisp crystals throughout, and this created a grainy mouth feel. Unfortunately, the finely ground beef and the brioche bun had similar grainy textures, so there was little contrast in terms of mouth feel in this cheeseburger.  This was not the fault of the cheese.  This cheese was marvelous.

The Bun: This was a dryish but very tender, mildly sweet, toasted brioche. The house-made brioche dough was so gently manipulated that the final product was crumbly—like a fluffy scone.  A little chewiness would have been welcome to contrast with the cheese.

The Meat to Bun Ratio: There was too much bun.  I put the top of my bun aside , and found the burger to be much improved in terms of meat and bread balance. Honestly, the meat and cheese were so flavorful that this would have been fine without a bun. The bun was simply along for the ride.

The Fries: The shoe string-style fries were cooked in fresh peanut oil-—fresh enough to infuse the fries with a strong and satisfying nutty flavor. The fries were crisp, golden, and properly seasoned. The fries were fantastic, and it was difficult to stop grazing on the generous portion that accompanied each burger.
 
The Value: Three of us dropped $30 each on a cheeseburger, a soda, and fries. The ingredients were spectacular.  Even the tomato slices and bib lettuce that accompanied the burgers were perfect. It was clear that quality ingredients were a priority at Bouchon, and they were only in the business of accepting the best of what their purveyors had to offer. Still, $30 was a lot to spend on a burger lunch. The value was not as strong as the deliciousness of the burger at Bouchon.

Chef Keller, we thank you for having focused your burger acumen on Bouchon and Bar Bouchon in Beverly Hills.

Burger Review : A pricey but almost magnificent burger was enjoyed at Bouchon. The flavor was marvelous, but the lack of sear and the grind of the beef held this burger back from achieving excellence.

Rating…4 Bites

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sandos Sub Shop -- Manhattan Beach, CA

312 Rosecrans Avenue
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
310-796-0470
website


It was the day after Christmas, and Happy Meal had assembled and played with most of the toys. We were due for a break, so we drove down a traffic-free 405 to Manhattan Beach to check out the burger at Sandos Sub Shop. This place was getting raved about on Yelp and Chowhound. It was time for us to see if it was the real deal.

Sandos Sub Shop was tiny-counter seating only--room for 6. They also had Connect Four--Happy Meal took me to school on that front. Sandos was a typical burger/sub stand.  It was just a counter, a register, and a kitchen.  The gas grill was tiny--about 3 sq ft, and they had a flat top for toasting buns and cooking onions and other hot sub toppings including cheese steaks. We ordered a couple of plain cheeseburgers with American cheese, an order of fries, and a couple of canned sodas--total $18.50.





The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef: Sandos Sub Shop burgers were made with 5 oz. patties of Estancia Beef. This was some of that fancy, free range, grass fed, no antibiotics, no pesticides, no hormones, no feedlot beef that makes some folks better about killing a cow and grinding it up into burger meat. The beef, much like the Chuck from Niman Ranch, came pre-ground, and like that other beef, it was relatively bland and very lean. The only taste that I got from this was iron. It was truly lacking in umami flavor or beefiness. They cooked the heck out of it, so it was not juicy either.

The Sear: The sear from the gas grill was impressive. The grill was hot enough to impart a crunchy sear and some char, too. The char was not offputting, because the too large bun was sweet enough to compensate.

The Seasoning: Nope...there was s shaker of sea salt within reach of the grill, but none of it made it onto the beef.

The Preparation: The burger patties were pre-formed, and cooked under grilling weights on a blistering hot grill.  This imparted great color and a uniform sear, but it pressed out all of the juices and fats from the patties, and it got them to a stern Well Done.  The patties were not over-manipulated prior to cooking. so they were not rubbery, but they certainly were on the dry side.

The Cheese: The White American cheese saved this burger from a failing grade. The cheese provided moisture, mouth feel, and salt. This burger absolutely required the salt and moisture from the cheese to be palatable.

The Bun: This was a standard, seeded, hamburger bun.  They toasted in on the grill--both side. The buns were on the dry/stale side, so the toasting robbed them of some much needed moisture.

The Meat to Bun Ratio: The dryish bun was too much for the dry burger patty. The cheese put up a mighty fight, but it was also overcome by the large, stale bun.

The Fries: These were peel-on, shoestring fries, which were cooked in canola oil. They hit them with sea salt, and the fries were piping hot. The fries were damn good.

The Value: Meh...20 bucks with tip for a couple of dry burgers on a dry buns, a single order of fries, and a couple of drinks was a little more than one would expect for a meal of this quality in a joint like Sandos Sub Shop.

In spite of the shortcomings in the preparation, the cheese took this burger from a failing grade to passing. I wouldn't go again, but I don't regret the visit.

Burger Review : The cheeseburgers at Sandos Sub Shop were merely OK. The sear was great, but it came at the cost of juiciness.

Burger Rating...3 Bites

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Farm Of Beverly Hills -- Beverly Hills, CA

439 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310-273-5578
website

 
'Twas the day before Christmas, and Bouchon was closed. 
The Keller crew left early, so Fat Bruce Lee and I were hosed.
 
We wandered the streets--for a burger joint we searched.
We spotted The Farm and through the front door we lurched.
 
We ordered our burgers condiment-free and Medium.
What was set before us was a different outcome.
 
Over-cooked burgers on burnt buns were handed to us.
After three, dry bites mine was returned in disgust.
 
Fat Bruce Lee was made of stronger stuff,
But after eating half, he too cried, "Enough!"
 
The beef was bland, and the cheese was not bold.
The fries were cooked in oil that was far too old.
 
The tomatoes were unripe and mealy.
The whole meal had us asking, "Really?"
 
They comped my burger, because it was bad.
They charged Fat Bruce Lee due to how much he had.
 
This was one of the worst burger, which we have sampled yet.
I would not return to The Farm on a bet.

The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef:  The menu touted Certified Humane Meyer Natural Angus. That was a lot of adjectives to describe some ground Chuck, but it could have been good. It was not. This was bland, dry Chuck--the overcooking to Well Done did not help.

The Sear: The sear from the grill was actually pretty darn good. Granted, they overcooked the beef by 25 degrees to get that sear on it. The burger patty was actually steaming when I opened the bun.  In spite of the good color from the sear, it did not matter. The beef was so dry and rubbery from the overcooking that any texture of the sear was lost in the bite.

The Seasoning: There was no seasoning--none.

The Preparation: The beef was pre-ground to a medium grind.  It showed up that way in a box that way from Meyer Natural Angus in Colorado. The fact that it had traveled across 1/2 of the continent already ground and packed in a tube pretty much guaranteed that it would not be tender--the proteins were given plenty of time to make new friends in the back of the truck.

The Cheese: This was a very bland, aged yellow Cheddar. The dryness of the beef overwhelmed any creaminess that the Cheddar could have contributed.

The Bun: A big, brioche-style burger bun, which had been toasted/burnt on both sides. They burned grill marks into both sides of the bun, so that the whole thing was permeated with the scorched taste of carbon/burnt starch. This was along the lines of eating a bag of burnt popcorn or blackened toast.

Meat to Bun Ratio: The over-sized bun dwarfed the shriveled, dry puck of a patty.

The Fries: They were peel on, shoestring fries, which were lightly battered, so they were very nicely crisped. Sadly, the fries were cooked in deep fryer oil, which had a bitter, burnt taste, so the aftertaste was wretched. Interestingly, this was not nearly as bad as the burnt taste of the bun, so the fries were downright pleasant by comparison.

The Value: $14.95 for a cheeseburger, which was inedible. The value was so bad that I imagine the kitchen staff laughed whenever an order for a burger came in. Fat Bruce Lee summoned all of his Chi and mightily choked down half of his cheeseburger. I took three bites, and I sent mine back--you are what you eat, and I did not want to be a crappy burger. They did not charge for my burger, because it was clearly overcooked.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse is dangerously close to The Farm Of Beverly Hills, so no one ever needs to go to there for a burger--never again.
 
Burger Review : You are welcome! We choked that nasty thing down, or at least tried to, so you will never have to.  The Farm was an apt name for this burger, which tasted like a chicken coop and was every bit as edible.
 
Rating...1 Bite  Just don't go to The Farm Of Beverly Hills for a cheeseburger.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rally's -- Los Angeles, CA

9829 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034 
310-936-1187
website
 
Rally's had been getting wildly mixed reviews on Yelp, but our senior code monkey suggested that we should try it, since he had been enjoying it for years. Rally's is know as Checker's in other parts of the country.  There was no indoor seating, but there were tables outside, and this location had two drive-up windows.  Fat Bruce Lee and I opted for the outdoor seating in order to try the cheeseburgers in a fresh state.We didn't know if they would survive the journey back to our world headquarters/secret laboratory.

The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef:  It was a fatty Chuck. However, the smallish (about 3 oz.) patties were tender, flavorful, beefy, and juicy. I expected this to be rubbery, and I was pleasantly surprised by something far better than the In-N-Out down the street.  

The Sear: Meh--this could have been MUCH better. The sear was barely apparent on the edges of the thin patties. This was the result of a too cool griddle interacting with a thin, fast-cooking, loosely packed patty.

The Seasoning: This was thorough.  They dusted the patties with a mild seasoning blend, which contained enough salt and pepper to enhance the beefy flavor of the Chuck.

The Preparation: The irregular patties were probably formed to order, because they were tender--this indicated that the beef had not been handled previously and was never frozen. The grind was a Medium-Fine, and they cooked the burgers to Well Done. It was not an aggressive Well Done, because the meat retained its juiciness.

The Cheese: Two gooey slices of American cheese--one on the top of each of the patties in the double cheeseburgers. The creaminess of the American cheese created a nearly decadent mouth feel when it combined with the tender beef.

The Bun: This was a standard, seeded hamburger bun. They toasted it properly, so that it delivered a satisfying crunch to counterbalance the moist chewiness of the bun's interior.

Meat to Bun Ratio: Perfect.

The Fries: Hooray for the fries!  Rally's battered the thin fries in a spicy batter before putting them in the fryer, so they came out exceptionally crunchy and flavorful.  Darn good fries were had a Rally's.

The Value: $11.50 for 2 double cheeseburger, two orders of fries, and two beverages. Win.

Rally's was a couple of blocks from In-N-Out Burger, and it was superior in every way. Rally's delivered made-to-order fast food burgers, which tasted good.  They delivered fries, which were exceptional. The prices were completely reasonable.
 
Burger Review : Rally's made a darn fine fast food burger. Not as good as Smashburger, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Shake Shack, or Steak 'n' Shake, but a fine burger nonetheless.
 
Rating...3 Bites  It was almost deserving of a 4 Bites rating, but the lack of sear held it back.



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Damon and Pythias -- Los Angeles, CA

1061 Broxton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024-2803
(Westwood)
310-824-8777


Fat Bruce Lee and I managed to break away from prepping Santa's sleigh for the upcoming holiday. It's not very well known, but Santa and the elves truly do little of the heavy lifting.  The real grunt work is done by a cadre of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make everything goes off without a hitch. That is the true meaning of Christmas. Damon and Pythias had been getting mixed but better than average reviews, and it was up to us to set the record straight. We had the Air Force swing by to pick us up, and we performed a HALO jump to the Westwood location.



The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef: This was 1/2 pound of medium grind, loosely packed, Angus Chuck, which had been over-manipulated prior to being formed into patties. The beef was either over-manipulated or it was an especially tough piece of Chuck, because the burger was a little chewy. It had little funk to it, and it was only moderately flavorful. I was a little oilier than I would have liked, and it leaned toward dryness with no liquid coming off of the burger...even when squeezed.
 
The Seasoning: There was almost no seasoning at all on the patty.

The Sear: There was no sear.  The too-cool grill provided very modest sear marks on the beef, and this did not translate into enhanced flavor or texture.  Maillard reaction--not present
 
The Preparation: The burgers were over-cooked to Well Done. This was in spite of our request for Medium. Damon and Pythias used a gas grill to prepare their burgers. The deep indentations in the patty suggest that the burger was pressed while cooking, and this further robbed it of any juiciness.
 
The Cheese: They used a thin slice of Cheddar, which was too rubbery to melt or provide any creaminess in the mouth feel department. The Cheddar was flavorful, but it had been pre-sliced and sitting out too long, so it had oxidized to the point of belonging in the trash rather than on a burger.
 
The Bun: The bun was a kosher, sweet, fluffy burger bun.  The bun was moist enough to compensate for the dryness of the beef, and it stood up well to the rubbery texture of the over-cooked patty. The bun really held this cheeseburger together in terms of texture. This was Fat Bruce Lee's favorite bun of all time.
 
The Meat to Bun Ratio: This was fine. While it was a touch heavy on the bun, the bun was sweet, chewy, and moist enough to be enjoyable on its own.
 
The Fries and Rings: Meh--the spiral cut fries were not cooked long or hot enough, so they were not crisp or brown, and they were not seasoned. The rings...it was like they ordered the rings from another restaurant. The rings were perfect--crisp, brown, and flavorful. I would order those rings again and again.
 
The Value: $10 for a 1/2 pound burger, a side, and a drink. The value was strong with this one.
 
The cheeseburgers at Damon and Pythias automatically came with crisp, thin, crumbled bacon on top. We did sample the burger in this way, in addition to our usual austere methodology, and that bacon mostly compensated for the lack of sear, seasoning, and general neutralness of the beef.  Bacon makes most things better--not frozen yogurt, though--and it certainly make the Damon and Pythias burger better.
 
Burger Review : The burger at Damon and Pythias was flawed in terms of preparation, but it was still filling and pretty darn good--I finished mine. Have it with the bacon, though. The bacon was essential to the flavor and texture profiles of this burger.

Rating...3.5 Bites...downgraded to 3 due to over-cooking, dryness, and rubbery cheese. 3 Bites

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wolfgang's Steakhouse -- Beverly Hills, CA

 Wolfgang's Steakhouse...REVISITED

445 North Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310-385-0640
Website


We returned to Wolfgang's Steakhouse on 08DEC10, and things were very different.  The dining room smelled a little/lot like sour mop water, and there was a thick layer of dust on every horizontal surface except the tables. Chef Gonzalez was not in the kitchen on that day--Chef Jaime was running the show. Even though there was only one table seated (10 top) in the entire restaurant when we walked in, AND that table had already placed their orders before we were seated, the kitchen's first attempt at my burger came out after a 40 minute wait.  

That cheeseburger went wrong in the following ways:
  • Luke warm
  • Overcooked to Med Well
  • Not juicy
  • No sear
  • No seasoning
  • Over-toasted, dry bun
  • Cheddar cheese instead of the American cheese that I ordered
  • The rings were shoddily battered, limp, and unseasoned
  • The fries were undercooked, not crisp, and under-seasoned.
  • It was merely an average cheeseburger--3 Bites.This was based solely on the quality of the beef.
I sent that burger back, since it was not cooked properly, AND it barely resembled the burger from my previous visit. The second burger came out about 12 minutes later.  It was very different from the one that I sent back...
  • Hot
  • Med Rare...as ordered
  • Juicy
  • Still not seared as well as what we saw on our initial visit but an improvement. This after very clearly and carefully requesting that the burger be seared on the hottest part of the grill....sigh.
  • Properly seasoned
  • American cheese...as ordered
  • Properly battered and crisped rings with good seasoning
  • Crisp, well-seasoned fries.
  • It was like a different kitchen prepared my burger.
  • This was a damn good cheeseburger 4.5 Bites.
Accordingly, we have reduced Wolfgang's Steakhouse's 5 Bites rating to a 4 Bites rating.  Consistency is key--Umami Burger has managed to put out a quality burger every time that I have visited, and Wolfgang's Steakhouse fell well short of the mark in that respect. This was a matter of attention to detail in the kitchen, and on this visit, that attention was sorely lacking.  In fairness, the burger was comped by our waitress, Jill.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tip Top Meats and European Deli -- Carlsbad, CA

6118 Paseo Del Norte
Carlsbad, CA 92011-1157
(760) 438-2620
website
 
Carlsbad, CA had a surprising number of burger places, and Tip Top Meats got some good reviews, so Happy Meal and I went to check it out.
 
It should be noted that Tip Top Meats serves up an awe-inspiring amount of food for a low price.  For about 17 bucks we got a a Double Cheeseburger ($4.98), a Single Cheeseburger ($3.49), fries, a drink, a slice of German Chocolate Cake, and a slice of Black Forest Cake. 
 
Tip Top Meats and European Deli has been around since 1967. It was part restaurant/deli, part German grocery store, and part butcher's shop. We got all of our Christmas cookie shopping done while were there, too. If I lived in Carlsbad, I'd eat a lot more steak--the butcher's case looked fantastic.

The Burger Breakdown...


The Double Cheeseburger at Tip Top Meats
 The Beef: We were assured that the beef was ground round. Accordingly, we ordered Med Rare. What we got was a very fat-heavy (25%?), medium ground patty. There was no trace of aging in our burgers. The flavor was very mild. These were oily, bloodless, and mostly bland burgers. I believe that these were sourced from chuck rather than round. The mild flavor really left me wanting for more. For 5 bucks, it was a foolish dream to hope for anything better than chuck, though.
 
The Seasoning: There was no seasoning.
A meager sear at Tip Top Meats

  The Sear: The sear was spotty and weak. It did not provide any crunch, flavor, or texture.
 
The Preparation: The burgers were griddled on a not-hot-enough cooking surface. The beef was ground in-house and formed loosely into 5-6 oz. patties--the menu claimed 4 oz., but the menu lied. The Double Cheeseburger was MASSIVE. I ate half of it before I relented. 
 
The Cheese: Perfectly melted American cheese provided the salt that the dish required. The cheese also added some moisture to compensate for the over-toasted bun.
 
The Bun: The bun was a standard hamburger bun, but because it was over-toasted--they got the bun browner than the burger patty--it was a little too dry. For some reason they scorched my top bun, but they did not toast the top of Happy Meal's Single Cheeseburger bun.  Puzzling.
 
The Meat to Bun Ratio: In spite of the copious quanitity of oily beef in the Tip Top Meats cheeseburger, the dryish bun managed to stand up and hold the dish together.
 
The Fries: Meh--they were cooked in a low smoke point oil, so they were not crisp or brown. Also, the oil had started to break down in the fryer, so the fries were a little bitter.
 
The Value: WOW! The portions at Tip Top Meats were Brobdinagian. There should have been a Surgeon General's Warning on the window of the place. There was nothing on the menu over 9 bucks, and all of the German dishes looked authentic and good.
 
The cheeseburgers at Tip Top Meats probably would have been better had we ordered them Medium, since the beef was most likely chuck rather than round. Even so, the lack of sear and seasoning would have created a sub-parr dish anyway. I would return, but not for a cheeseburger.
 
Burger Review : Tip Top Meats served a huge amount of food for a low price, but it was prepared in a fashion that delivered lackluster results.
 
Rating...2 Bites

Friday, December 3, 2010

GQ Magazine Rates LA's Umami Burger the Burger of the Year

If you live in LA, then you already know that Umami Burger is one of the best burgers in the country.  As a pure play, it is the best burger in LA.

Here's a funny excerpt from the article: "...Elsewhere in L.A., the burger world is in disarray. So desperate is the situation, so uncertain are the natives, that at least one establishment specializing in burgers is flying in chopped meat from the LaFrieda purveyors in Manhattan. The old L.A. order—In-N-Out Burger, Fatburger, Bob's Big Boy, Tommy's—is in retreat..."

Read More http://www.gq.com/food-travel/alan-richman/201012/umami-burger-los-angeles-best-burger-alan-richman#ixzz174laRlzA

Links to all Umami Burger reviews and stories as posted by TheBurgerReview.com

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lazy Daisy Cafe -- Santa Monica, CA

2300 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405-1722
310-450-9011

This was the day that I was getting the smog check done on the car, and Lazy Daisy Cafe sign boasted of gourmet burgers. The menu advertised Ground Sirloin burgers, so I ordered one.  I ordered one of the Ground Sirloin Burgers at $8.95, and I ordered it with a slice of Jack cheese for an additional $1.50.  Yeah----a buck fifty for a slice of cheese--you read that right. It was convenient, and I was hungry, and well....it said it was "gourmet."

The Burger Breakdown...

The Beef: If "Ground Sirloin" and "Gourmet Burgers" were supposed to mean "flavorless and rubbery," then Lazy Daisy Cafe nailed the beef.  Bland and rubbery was what I got. No aging, no beefiness, no juiciness, and no iron flavors were present.  They assured me that the beef had not been frozen, so it must have been manipulated to death to achieve that level of chewiness and bloodlessness.

Lazy Daisy Cafe Burger Presentation
The Sear: The sear looked pretty good, but it was as flavorless and rubbery as the beef from which it was derived.

The Seasoning: The burger was weakly seasoned with something oniony.  I had to wash my hands twice to rid myself of the smell. There was certainly not enough salt or pepper to save the beef from itself.

The Preparation: They cooked the thin, 5 oz. patties of finely ground sirloin to Medium on a reasonably hot griddle. 

The Cheese: The $1.50 slice of Jack Cheddar was meek and on the rubbery side. It certainly failed to compensate for the blandness of the beef or the chewy texture.

The Bun: I chose the Whole Wheat option--my other choice was Grilled Onion Bun...gross. The whole wheat bun was barely toasted and very bland. It was moist, however. 
Lazy Daisy Cafe Burger Sea
The Meat to Bun Ratio: Meh--I didn't really care.  Three bites in, and I sent this back. It was not worth the effort of chewing it.

The Fries: Instead of fries Lazy Daisy Cafe provides baby red potatoes and a green salad. Both of these were also awful.  The potatoes were gummy--they had been cooked for far too long, and should not have been served. The salad was warm and limp--it had obviously been dressed and left to sit out for at least 30 minutes prior to reaching my plate.

Lazy Daisy Cafe Burger Cross Section
The Value: Lazy Daisy Cafe comped the meal. Had the ingredients been fresh and properly prepared, this smallish burger would have been a less than stellar value.  

Burger Review : Never again for a burger--I hear they have a good breakfast, though.

Rating...1 Bite


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Original Marty's -- Los Angeles, CA

Marty's Hamburger Stand Double Cheeseburger
10558 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310-836-6944

Also know as Marty's Hamburger Stand. 


Side of Fries and I ventured out to celebrate his retirement, and Marty's has been on deck for some time as a joint that was close enough to our world headquarters for a lunchtime review.  We jumped into the helicopter (jet packs were still in the shop), called ahead to get all air and ground traffic cleared, and we set down at Pico and Overland.  It was especially nice that the firefighters from the station next to Marty's came out and cheered for us. It was good to be appreciated for all the hard work that we do.


We ordered a couple of double cheeseburgers, fries, and drinks.  This set us back $18.  Yep, 18 bucks at a hamburger stand. We found it especially odd that on the menu they stated the the following:  We grind our own meat "Fresh Daily"  Hmm.....why did they wrap Fresh Daily in quotation marks?


The Burger Breakdown...


The Beef: The beef was a very average tasting, 80/20 Chuck.  It was a medium grind, and the patties were preformed and separated by waxed paper.  They were 1/4 pound each, and the brownish hue to the raw patties suggested that "Fresh Daily" was a euphemism for something less frequent.  The beef lacked funk, iron, and blood. It was just barely juicy. It was merely OK.


The Griddle at Marty's
The Sear: They griddled the patties to give them a good sear. While the sear was dark and even, it did lack some crunch. It was merely OK.


The Seasoning: The was NO seasoning.  That was not OK.


The Preparation: At Marty's the burgers were griddled to Well-Done, and that's how I would have requested them anyway upon taking a look at the "Fresh Daily" ground beef.


The Cheese: They tossed the American cheese on as an afterthought. The process of photographing my cheeseburger was what gave the cheese ample time to melt. The cheese did provide some much-needed salt and moisture to the dish.
The Sear at The Original Marty's


The Bun: The bun was a lightly-toasted, non-seeded, standard hamburger bun. It was a little on the stale side, so the cheese had to work overtime to nearly compensate for the dry bun.


The Meat to Bun Ratio: In spite of the dry bun, this was just about right. Had the bun been moist, this would have been just right.


The Fries: These came frozen, straight out of a brown, 5 lb, food service bag and tossed into the fryer. Still, they were cooked to a nice crunch, and they were properly seasoned.


The Value: Marty's delivered a filling meal, and for 9 bucks a person, it wasn't the worst value that we had encountered. The value was OK.


Marty's was exactly what one might expect of a hamburger stand. It was OK.  It was not the sort of thing that we would eat twice, but it was just fine.


Burger Review : OK...and a FAR better choice than Apple Pan.



Rating...3 Bites

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