30 Burgers in 30 Days: The Fix is In (Day 5)
The BYOB policy and high-quality, humanely-raised meats at The Fix Burger in Silver Lake, earned it "Best of LA" status in last year's mega-issue. This time, we visit The Fix with an eye toward comparing their classic burgers with their kimchi-laden Seoul burger, a concept we recently sampled at Kalbi Burger.
Meat & Bun: The Fix offers burgers made from uncommon meats like bison and wild boar, which replaced ostrich after the eatery could no longer find a creditable ostrich meat supplier. We stick to their classic burgers, and at $6.99 for a 1/2-pound Fix Burger and $5.49 for the Mini-Fix Burger, still filling at a 1/4-pound, they're a terrific deal.
The meat is juicy and high-quality without being too wet or greasy, one of our main qualms about GO Burger. The burgers here are in the same price range as recently opened Rounds Premium Burgers, but of better quality.
The bun is a heartier version of the sesame seed bun found on old-school fast food burgers. Squashy and with very little resistance, it doesn't stand up well to even a basic burger, let alone one with juicier toppings.
Toppings: The standard burgers come with the all-American fixings: mayo, red onions, romaine lettuce and tomato. You can build your own burger with sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, bacon, avocado, chili and grilled pineapple ($1 each) as well as a selection of 11 high-end or standard cheeses, everything from American to gruyere ($.50 - $1 each).
The Fix also has prefab burgers with pesto, with cranberry relish, with pineapple and teriyaki sauce. None of them have ever floated our boat, but their Seoul burger is an interesting conundrum. We prefer the bun on the burgers at Kalbi, but The Fix, which doesn't bill itself as any sort of cross-cultural burger joint, has much better kimchi. It's sharp with a tartness that cuts through the meat and other condiments. Again, the problem here is the wetness factor. A few bites into our Seoul burger, we had a puddle of salty-spicy kimchi drippings, enough to fill a hearty dipping cup of au jus. The bun had turned into a soggy mess, making it difficult to eat and visually unappealing. It's probably impossible, but if the kimchi could somehow be wrung dry or buffered by a layer of lettuce between cabbage and bun, the whole thing would be vastly improved.
Sides: The fries ($2.95) are nothing to speak of: ordinary, frozen and deep-fried. If you crave some deep-fried potato with your meat -- and we get that urge all the time -- go for the garlic variety ($3.95). If you're willing to go out on a limb, The Fix makes fine onion rings. As a general rule, we prefer tempura-battered onion rings, but The Fix's crisp breadcrumb-battered variety won us over with their high-powered crunch, their ideal size and their exact breading-to-vegetable ratio. Daylight an entire onion ring. These aren't those large chunky bracelets, where the moment you bite into it, a slimy onion slides out, leaving a bereft cocoon of batter. These are probably sliced, battered and frozen en masse in some factory, but The Fix knows how to fix them up.
Desserts: More notable than the standard but solid milkshakes, is The fix's refrigerator case full of weird sodas. We're always partial to a high-quality ginger beer, but when we're feeling adventurous, we might go for a Shirley Temple flavored bottle of pop or one of Fillbert's candyish fruit-flavored sodas. (You can also get Coke, 7-Up, etc. from the thoroughly modern soda machine.)
The Upshot: The Fix has one of the best deals around on upscale burgers. Forget the weird combos and stick to the basic Fix or Mini-Fix burger. Take advantage of the BYOB police, and try one with a sharp IPA or a bottle of your favorite red wine.
Exercise: 50-min. spinning class.
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