West Hollywood, CA 90069310-289-9250
This from the Burger Lounge website: "...Burger Lounge grew out of the idea that a hamburger should not only taste great, it should also utilize healthy ingredients produced in a sustainable environment. We provide a simple premium quality menu that appeals to health conscious diners, vegetarians, salad lovers and diners simply "hankering for a great hamburger.
Our beef comes from one farm, grown by a small company where the animals are well treated and never spend time in a corporate "feed-lot". Their diet consists of tall green grass from beautiful Kansas prairie land. This is what nature intended cows to eat and nothing more. No hormones, no antibiotics, no grain, no corn, just beautiful green grass. These conditions produce a beef that is delicious and far better for you than conventionally grown beef.
Our business model represents the bridge between bloated corporate "fast food" culture and the "less is more, quality is everything" approach. Success is to do a common thing, uncommonly well. It is the people in our organization that make this possible.
At Burger Lounge, our "guest first" philosophy, premium quality products and our environmentally responsible approach, all represent the future of the fast-casual market sector. As we grow, we continue to seek partners with like-minded ideas..."
Wow, right? These guys really seemed dedicated to nailing a simple, American classic. I walked into Burger Lounge with high hopes. I walked out feeling much differently.
Parking was free in the underground lot. I popped by on a Sunday afternoon, and there was no issue finding a table. I ordered The Lounge Burger ($7.95), a fries/rings combo, and a beverage. For two, this came to $33.57 (with tip). A little steep, but if Burger Lounge even approached the promise of the website verbiage, it would have been well worth it.
The Burger Breakdown...
The Beef: Gone was the grass-fed beef from my native Kansas. It was replaced with beef from another source. At the time of my visit, the beef was sourced from Rain Crow Ranch. It was still grass-fed. The flavor was beefy enough, but the burgers were also cooked well past the requested cooking temperature of Medium. The burger patty was 100% Chuck. The Chuck had a moderate funk to it. The fat content was at least 20%. Even so, the burger was on the oily side. There was no trace of blood or mineral notes. The patty weighed in at about 6 ounces. The beef at Burger Lounge was fine, but it was by no means remarkable.
The Seasoning: The exterior of the burger patty at Burger Lounge was lightly salted.
The Sear: This was frustrating to me. There appeared to be a decent sear under the cheese. However, that sear was made soggy after it absorbed the steam that was trapped beneath that cheese. The flip-side of the burger had a so-so sear from the gas-fired flat-top.
The Preparation: I ordered Medium, and I received Med-Well. The burger patties at Burger Lounge were formed during the prep cycle. The beef arrived pre-ground...but not frozen. As a result, the cheeseburger was tender and not chewy.
The Cheese: I went with American cheese for my burger, and it was fine. The cheese was properly melted. It provided pleasant notes of iron and salt. The cheese also served to add creaminess to the bite.
The Bun: The buns at Burger Lounge were sourced from Puritan Bakery. The burger buns were a recipe developed specifically for Burger Lounge. The bun was a whole wheat affair with a sturdy front note of molasses, and that was about it. The bun was otherwise neutral and uninteresting. Sadly, it was also on the stale side. That's what I got for going on a Sunday.
The Meat To Bun Ratio: Too much bun. I ate mine topless to avoid desiccating my tongue.
The Fries and Rings: The peel-off, house-cut fries were prepared Belgian-style--twice fried. The fries were both crisp and creamy. The onion rings were crisp and nicely browned. Both fries and rings were properly seasoned.
The Toppings: The tomato slice was ripe and juicy. The Iceberg lettuce was wilted and nearly rotten along the edges. I was shocked to see this arrive alongside my cheeseburger. The house-made BBQ sauce was satisfying and rich with onion flavors.
The Value: Meh. 8 bucks for an average tasting burger on a semi-stale bun was not exciting.
Burger Lounge had been open long enough to work out the kinks. It seemed that Burger Lounge had been open long enough to become complacent. The quality of preparation was lacking.
Burger Review : Burger Lounge served up some tasty fries and rings. The burgers were merely average.