10 Best Burgers in Los Angeles
We've written about burgers. Plenty of times. Thin burgers, thick burgers, small burgers, big burgers, fast-food burgers, gourmet burgers. We love them one and all, the way a mother loves all her children. Unlike mom, we don't pretend to love all our children equally. Finally, we're ranking our burger obsession. Eat 'em an weep -- with gluttonous joy.
10. Mom's Burgers
Everything on Mom's menu comes in a junior version; if it didn't, heart attacks would be imminent. Combos like The Chronic and The Colosso, with their audacious more-is-more aesthetic, have made Mom's Burgers semi-famous. Unwrap The Colosso ($8.03/$5.27), and it disgorges a mass of tender, salty pastrami masking the burger that lurks somewhere beneath the curling pink tongues of meat. Here, the classic is The Chronic ($5.38/$4.56) with American cheese, two slices of chewy, thick-cut bacon and a fried egg that somehow seems organic, integral even, to the burger. Mom's is one of the few places where the egg-on-burger meme works. William Blake said, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom." Blake should have eaten here. 336 W. Alondra Blvd., Compton. (310) 632-6622.
In the Cahuenga corridor where eateries are by nature heinous, trendy and overpriced, Stout, while popular, makes burgers on the more affordable side of the gastropub price scale ($10) -- and they taste good enough to make the nightmarish traffic and parking worth the trip. The brioche bun provides a solid framework for the thick, hearty burgers, the best of which is the Stout Burger. Stout tries to top Father's Office by topping their burger with blue cheese and gruyere, caramelized onions, horseradish sauce and thick-cut, rosemary-tinged bacon. Don't forget that this is a beer bar. The best side at Stout, inevitably, is a liquid one. 1544 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 469-3801.
Inside a shack in Van Nuys, old school burgerman Bill Elwell has spent decades frying the quintessential American fast-food burger. Regulars will tell you the secret is in the grill, which has been around since the 1930s, accruing over 70 years of seasoning. Delivered fresh every day, the small, thin, peppery patties are cooked all the way through and served on a classic white bread bun with the flat side properly grilled. Lightly seasoned and juicy, they're topped with iceberg lettuce, a thin slice of tomato, a couple of pickle rounds, chopped onions and mayo. The $3.15 burger is on the smaller side, satisfying without leaving you immobile. Bigger appetites will definitely crave a double ($4.25). 14742 Oxnard St., Van Nuys. (818) 785-4086.
7. Comme Ça
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 mother 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. 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 782-1104.
6. Umami Burger
What started as a humble burger shop has become a juggernaut of upscale fast food with half-a-dozen locations and more opening every minute. Despite that, Umami still makes a damn fine burger, which they consistently achieve by cooking the meat sous-vide before searing it on the grill. The menu is varied enough to please many tastes, but standouts include the Port & Stilton burger with rich, sweet caramelized onions, the spicy Hatch chile burger and the Triple Pork burger, amped up with manchego, smoky bacon and tart pimento mayo. 850 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 931-3000.Next Page
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