[Missed an installment? Catch up with 30 Burgers in 30 Days in our meaty archive.]
Sometimes, too much luxury is not enough. Sometimes, a little luxury is just right. Burrata and a burger? You had us at burrata.
When we first heard Little Dom's offered a burger topped with burrata ($12), we were intrigued but also wary. We have limned the pitfalls when two great tastes don't taste great together. A couple years ago, we found ourselves in a British-themed pub wishing it had a canine mascot so we could secretly feed him our steak and oyster pie. Another time, we managed to smile while sampling a lemon and chocolate truffle that tasted exactly like window cleanser. Would Little Dom's marriage of the dependable American burger with creamy, decadent burrata yield happy results?
Meat & Bun: We're guessing the burger is cooked in Little Dom's wood-burning oven, the same one they presumably use to cook their pizzas and flatbreads. The char on it is excellent, giving the unadorned, firmly packed, medium-grind meat, a smoky richness. On the downside, controlling the temperature in a wood-burning oven can be hard, and our medium-rare burger was a solid medium.
The burger comes on a thick, springy square of focaccia, grilled until it's dotted with light flecks of char. The top bun, however, is a vestigial organ, made useless by too much lettuce and an unflattering condiment (see below). For such a hearty piece of bread, it proved remarkably insecure, barely holding up under a burger that wasn't overly large or loaded with too many drippy toppings.
Toppings: Served open-faced, the burger comes with a sweet, slightly smoky tomato-mustard-onion compote. Perhaps it's meant to replace ketchup and mustard, but it's more like a watery tomato sauce. It's superfluous, and the burger is better off without it.
There's a portioning problem here. The burger is served with so much lettuce, we're baffled how one is supposed to eat it. Forget using your hands. It was tricky, even with utensils. Crumbles of bread, soaked in delicious meat juices, fell off our fork at every bite.
But what about the burrata? Is it incredible and decadent sitting on top of a burger or is it wasted? Both. We find it hard to criticize burrata in any form, but after trying it umpteen variations of it, we still prefer burrata the way God intended: plain, with no accompaniment except perhaps a slice of bread. On top of a burger, burrata's mild flavor gets lost. The creamy cheese adds more of a textural note, than anything else. That's not a mortal sin, but it's not a complement either.
It's topped with a curling slice speck. Bacon hardly needs an upgrade, but this speck is crisp and excellent, a delicate yet meaty ribbon that would do any burger proud.
Sides: For $3 extra, you can add a salad of arugula and parmesan in a tart vinaigrette (perfectly acceptable) or a side of Little Dom's house-made crispy red potatoes (perfect and delectable). We aren't the first to fall in love with them, and Jonathan Gold wrote a more poignant ode to them than we ever could: "Tossed imperfectly with lemon and plenty of minced raw garlic -- the potatoes become soft and crunchy, salty and sweet, mined with almost random depth charges of garlic pungency and puckering sourness, which make your soft palate bounce like the ball in a game of pachinko. And that's not even considering the real likelihood that the first potato or two will scorch the roof of your mouth." Ditto.
Dessert: Why stay seated, especially on a beautiful day when you could stroll Hillhurst Avenue with your dessert in hand? Pop into Little Dom's next-door deli and pick up a treat for the road. Perhaps a cupcake, cookie, scone, or maybe a mini-mason jar of budino. We're not wild about Little Dom's icy gelato, but we are fans of the cake in a jar ($2.95) -- chocolate cake, sticky caramel and walnuts -- and the mini-Bundt cakes, which come six to a bag ($5.95).
The Upshot: The burrata burger is a nifty concept and the meat is wonderfully smoky, but it's more like two excellent things on the same plate rather than a single excellent dish. That shouldn't stop you from ordering it. Whatever else you get, the potatoes are a necessity.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
- Day 24: Morton's The Strakhouse in downtown LA
- Day 23: Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in Santa Monica
- Day 22: Bar Bouchon in Beverly Hills
- Day 21: Stout in Hollywood
- Day 20: Mom's Burgers in Compton
- Day 19: Bill & Hiroko's in Van Nuys
- Day 18: Pacific Dining Car in Koreatown
- Day 17: Pie 'n Burger in Pasadena
- Day 16: Blue Dog Beer Tavern in Sherman Oaks
- Day 15: Exotic Meats at Billy's Burgers
- Day 14: Ground & Pound at The Bucket
- Day 13: Bacon Heaven at The Oaks Gourmet Market
- Day 12: Lazy Ox Canteen
- Day 11: Cassell's in Koreatown
- Day 10: Burgers & Beer at The Bottle Room
- Day 9: Pretzel Buns at Hole In The Wall Burger Joint
- Day 8: Late Night Burgers at Eveleigh
- Day 7: Apple Pan Keeps on Truckin'
- Day 6: Perfection at Comme Ça
- Day 5: The Fix Is In
- Day 4: Fun with Buns at Rounds Premium Burgers
- Day 3: Whipped Cream & Other Delights at The Counter
- Day 2: Kimchi & Cultural Fusion at Kalbi Burger
- Day 1: Alcohol & Excess at GO Burger