By Besha Rodell
By Besha Rodell
By Besha Rodell
By Besha Rodell
By Besha Rodell
By Amy Scattergood
By Besha Rodell
By Besha Rodell
Nearly every meat-eating Americanspeaks the language of burger. Whether it's a backyard barbecue or an upscale gastropub, the hamburger, once a practical way to make inexpensive meat more palatable, has become an art form unto itself.
Our continuing online odyssey "30 Burgers in 30 Days" isn't a hard-and-fast ranking system to determine The One Burger to Rule Them All, or a Morgan Spurlock–like stunt to test the limits of arterial tolerance. It's more socioculinary survey, a broad look at the enduring marriage of meat and bun. Like other deceptively simple American art forms, say, jazz or Westerns, it has seemingly infinite variations.
As we take stock halfway through this quixotic gastronomic survey, the burger continues to surprise: It is accompanied by all manner of foodstuffs; it can cost from $4 to $40; it can be served with every imaginable condiment on any type of bun, and even in a bowl.
241 S. San Pedro St. Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, CA 90012
It's only fitting that Southern California, birthplace of McDonald's and In-N-Out, has emerged as America's upscale burger mecca. We're the home of such archetypal burger emporiums as Father's Office, Hungry Cat and Umami, all of which, it should be noted, were excluded from this quest at the outset. Nothing against these now-iconic burgers, but it was time to visit less traveled lands.
Anyone who has ever truly loved a burger has at the very least imagined pursuing a quest like this one.
Best Char Burger
Chef Josef Centeno is known for aggressive flavors, and the $14 burger at his Lazy Ox Canteen is no meek, middle-of-the-road patty. Don't be fooled by its disarmingly petite stature. This vertical, not horizontal, beast rests on a toasted, house-made bun (a thing of beauty). Centeno's upscale take on classic toppings, including the bold choice of cantal, a tangy, sublime melting cheese, moves this chef-driven burger into the stratosphere. Prepared medium-rare, it has a concentrated, earthy flavor, reportedly from suet in the grind. No one puts a better char on a burger than the Lazy Ox. Savor the gratifying textural disparity between the rugged, singed exterior and the tender, pink interior. From a seat at the bar (the most entertaining spot in the house), watch as flame meets burger while you drink an esoteric beer from the Lazy Ox's carefully curated assortment.
LAZY OX CANTEEN | 241 S. San Pedro St., dwntwn. | (213) 626-5299
Best Burger on a Budget
A hidden gem tucked behind the Winchell's at Sepulveda and Santa Monica, Hole in the Wall Burger Joint serves burgers that, at $7.95, can stand up against gourmet restaurant versions that cost twice as much. Full of flavor and fat, this is a coarsely ground, loosely packed, thick beef patty with enough savory meat juice to moisten the bun without being greasy. It comes with all the basics: choice of cheese, offbeat spreads (chipotle mayo) and veggies. Even those who don't relish the idea of relish may be tempted by the house-made mixture tinged with cinnamon, clove and sweet peppers. Get the bacon for an extra dollar (remember it's cash only): It's thick and brittle, with a crispness that endures. The Kennebec fries, piping hot and fresh from the fryer, are well worth $2.50. The pretzel bun is a must. This dark-brown, braided round with a firm, shellacked exterior and dense, chewy interior is ideal for sopping up the remnants of one of L.A.'s best — and most budget-friendly — burgers.
HOLE IN THE WALL BURGER JOINT | 11058 Santa Monica Blvd., W.L.A. | (310) 312-7013
Best Out-of-the-Way Burger
Known mainly as the childhood home of Richard Nixon and stomping ground of M.F.K. Fisher, Whittier soon may be known for the modest Bottle Room and chef Tony Alcazar's burger. Through some miracle of nature or trick of culinary skill, this flavorful $12 burger — soft on the inside, medium-charred on the outside — holds together until the last crumbling bite. The milky bun, with the texture of Hawaiian bread but without its sweetness, softens but never falls apart. It's topped with "sweet onion relish" (read: caramelized onions), sprigs of arugula (an homage to the iceberg lettuce of a classic burger) and two cheeses (Swiss and blue) that pair well together. For an extra dollar, swap out the salad for shoestring fries. Cooked to a light crisp with plenty of garlic and a dusting of parsley, they're impossible to resist. (If you still have room, try the truffled mac 'n' cheese.) Often imitated but rarely achieved, this style of burger is one Angelenos have come to know (see Father's Office disclaimer above). With his Bottle Room burger, Alcazar has paid tribute to his progenitor but made it his own.
THE BOTTLE ROOM | 6741 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier | (562) 696-8000
Best Bacon Cheese Burger
When Greg Morris (the Spanish Kitchen, the Olive) offered a top-of-the-line burger for $11.50, he was issuing a challenge to all of L.A.'s high-end burgermeisters. Just off Beachwood Canyon, the cozy Oaks Gourmet Market is stocked with fancy victuals and obscure beers, which — unfortunately — cannot be imbibed on the premises. The crumbly, flavorful eight-ounce patty of dry-aged meat walks the line between the minimally seasoned and the heavily herbed. Plenty of burgers arrive blanketed in melted cheese, but here it's taleggio. The creamy texture and mellow, buttery flavor perfectly complement the sweetness of the smoked-jalapeño-and-pineapple compote. The burger's knockout punch is its ultrathick Black Forest bacon. A dichotomy of crisp and chewy with a hint of sweetness, it's hands-down the best bacon on a burger. The trio of bacon, taleggio and compote is nothing less than genius.
THE OAKS GOURMET MARKET | 1915 N. Bronson Ave., Hlywd. | (323) 871-8894
Best Brasserie Burger
It's no secret that French brasserie Comme Ça's $16 cheeseburger, now served for lunch and dinner, is considered one of the best in town. No mix-and-match toppings. No extreme sauces. No customization. Just rich, high-quality aged beef, juicy enough to marinate every bite in your mouth but not the least bit greasy. The patty is just the size it should be: only slightly larger than propriety demands but not enough to exhaust the eater. Covered in cheddar, topped with a scoop of rudimentary slaw (cabbage, mayo, a pinch of salt) and perched on the brioche of all brioches, it's L.A.'s gourmet burger par excellence. A gourmet burger ought to be accompanied by perfect fries, but let's not dwell on the disappointing frites here. Now it can be told: This is not simply a burger, this is the burger.
COMME ÇA | 8479 Melrose Ave., W. Hlywd. | (323) 782-1104
Thanks for the tip on Hole-in-the-Wall. I've been there three time with different friends and family. All agree that their burgers are top notch. Excellent meat flavor; the pretzel bun is remarkable for its flavor and texture. Very friendly atmosphere for a quick-serve place. Medium Rare is medium rare!!
WOW that review sucked next time hire me best burger in la my ass so many problems with this article i don't now where to fucking begin sounds way to boring/upscale for The LA Weekly give it to me straight up do like the concept but come on ppl
1.Best Brasserie Burger or gourmet Burger who cares who wants to spends 16 bucks on a gourmet fucking Kobe beef Burger
2. Best Char Burger needs to be one of the MANY 24 hr char Burger stands
3.Best Burger on a Budget $7.95 WTF (WHAT THE FUCK) you should of did a survey who has the BEST 1$ MENU Burger or only one under $5
4. Best Out-of-the-Way Burger wtfc (WHO THE FUCK CARES ) GAS IS 4.00 A GALLON WHO IS GOING TO DRIVE 30 MINUTES FOR A BURGER
5.Best Bacon Cheese Burger
omg i think i went vegan from reading this trash
Honestly, I've been to all of the places that have been rated and raved about, and most of these reviews are completely off the mark.
The Lazy Ox Canteen got no char on the burger, and the pork fat mutes the beef flavors.Comme Ca is now a ground chuck burger and nowhere close to being gourmet, and the fries were lank.Hole In The Wall Burger Joint--well, that's just bland and awful.
Umami's burgers are ok, but small for the price they charge..which should be cut 30%. FATBURGER, boys and girls.. been around L.A. for decades, much better than Tommies, and has ANYONE, EVER gotten a hot burger from In & Out?? Cause I NEVER HAVE!! Cold, cheese-congealed greaseballs, every time, and yet I see lines at every In & Out.. I know it's a Mormon-owned chain, but do they FORCE parishioners to eat there??Fatburgers can be ok to excellent.. of all in the greater L.A area, the one on Sepulveda above the Orange Line station in the Valley is my favorite.. and the one on Ventura just east of Topanga Cyn. needs new management.. not a good place. Juicyburger on Hollywood blvd at Ivar is a close 2nd and rising fast.. excellent burgers, and GREAT fries.
These are evidently the "Burger Buster" guys, who stumbled into Chowhound.com last year and, until they were called on it, posted old reviews from their boring burger blog as if they were new and hot off the press. I dislike in the extreme their cliched writing, self-important personas, and (most of their) ratings. The burger at the great Zuni Cafe in San Francisco is more than merely not to their liking, it's the "worst ever"?
Now, they've found this series and begin a list of complaints with "honestly" (i.e., "trust me") -- yeah, sure, Bobo. Daddy needs to take them off the trust fund, so they're forced to work for a living and have something else to do ... or put them on a trust fund, so they can afford to travel.
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How can anyone possibly call a burger costing $7.95 a "budget friendly" burger? At In-N-Out you'll get a burger, fries, and a drink for less money! This writer's concept of a budget is wildly skewed toward the absurd.
@Mr. Fluberman: Whatever happened to people reading?
The piece is called "30 Burgers in 30 Days." The above only covers five of them. 12 others have already been written up and posted on Squid Ink, meaning there are 13 more to go.
If you bothered to read the entire project, you'd find exactly what you're looking for, but you're probably more interested in flaming writers than actually doing some good old American hard work and reading all of them.
Read it all here: http://blogs.laweekly.com/squi...
Whatever happened to a great hamburger - charbroiled with our favorite condiments loaded on to it. It seems that all we see (and read about here) are froux-froux artisan burgers. I don't want aoli, imported anything, weird cheeses, chipotle mayo, Cambodian mustard or gourmet anything. Truffles are great but not on a burger! I also want great fries and/or onion rings, not air-fried Peruvian sweet potatoes with habanero pepper and tomatillo catsup.
I WANT A REAL AMERICAN HAMBURGER. I want to choose how I want it done and what is on it - not dictated to me by a Nazi chef. Where can I get one of those?
F-king A right, Sterling Fluberman!I am sick to death of these g-ddamn "gourmet" burgers. There's nothing gourmet about ground beef you puntzes! And $7.95 should be the upper price limit of ANY burger, regardless of fancy buns or condiments used. Speaking of which, i HATE fancy condiments. And no one should be using bread that resembles Hawaiian in texture for a bun !That's absurd! Too soft -- when paired with a greasy burger it's gonna get soggy. i HATE IT !!!!! Go away, bastard burger chefs! Take your fans and followers with you. This is LA, Bitch !
It's called Burger King. You can 'Have it Your Way' there.
The burger you speak of is what I like to call the homemade burger. You obviously know what you want on it and that's awesome. I agree I love the simple burgers too. But this list is more for those who want something you CAN'T get grilling in your backyard or are unique enough to warrant a taste. If you want a Hamburger with the simple toppings, nothing beats your own grilled burger with a beer and some buddies.
Gourmet burgers are just another LA fad. Find me a Pinkberry ....I'll be grilling burgers in the backyard while you conduct your search.
I like to reserve the word "awesome" for Jonas Salk inventing the polio vaccine or Moses coming down the mountain with two genuine-stone tablets, etc. Knowing what you want on a sandwich is maybe "nice."