Joshua Gil (Jonathan Club, Joe’s) and Daniel Snukal (LudoBites, Urasawa) — accomplished L.A. chefs who currently run an underground supper club and have been hailed as masters of the fish taco on the Westside — opened their second restaurant, Hamburguesas Punta Cabras, late last week in a tiny storefront on Spring Street in downtown L.A.
Like their first eatery, Tacos Punta Cabras in Santa Monica, their hamburger joint is partly inspired by Gil’s Mexican heritage. The two spots are also similar in aesthetic — small spaces, minimal decor and menus that focus on just a few key dishes.
Hamburguesas Punta Cabras is basic to the extreme, with worn tile floors, white cinderblock walls and a tiny kitchen that somehow can fit the four employees who take and make the orders for the steady lunchtime rush.
The menu is short and handwritten on a whiteboard. There’s the signature hamburguesa, with or without cheese and with a single or double patty ($6-$8.50). The thin patties are crisped on a griddle (the meat is from Premier Meat Co.) and topped with a handful of shredded lettuce, charred green onions and crisp, thinly sliced pickles. The buttered buns get a generous squirt of house-made “Mil Islas,” more commonly known as Thousand Island dressing.
There’s also a turkey burger ($6-$8.50), which gets a subtle kick from green-curry guacamole, and a black-bean version ($6-$8.50) topped with Mexican ranch dressing.
Gil says that once the restaurant works through its soft opening, they probably will start experimenting with specials. Be on the lookout for “a shrimp burger of some sort” with salsa de guajes and huitlacoche.
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If you order fries ($3), which are thin and salty, get them “dirty” ($5), topped with a concoction of melted chorizo cheese, that Mil Islas dressing and charred green onion. A tiny cooler up front offers the holy grail of soft drinks: Mexican Coke in a bottle.
Hamburguesas Punta Cabras: 633 S. Spring St., downtown. (213) 628-3393, hamburguesaspuntacabras.com.