[Missed an installment? Catch up with 30 Burgers in 30 Days in our meaty archive.]
There's nothing pretty about a master burger, arriving as it does on a plain, squashed, white bread bun. That doesn't mean it doesn't taste good. Served from a bright yellow building fronted by a few metal tables and protected by iron bars over every window, the master burger ($2.73; $3.19 for the cheeseburger) is one of the better burgers you'll ever eat at this price.
Like Bill and Hiroko's, Master Burger is all about the classic fast-food burger. A flat patty of better quality than you'll find at most burger shacks, cooked simply with basic toppings. Starting with the master burger (filling, by our standards), the burgers escalate in size until they work their way up to the double king chili cheeseburger, still only $6.50.
Meat & Bun: It looked like a typical fast-food patty, but the meat felt house-ground and tasted fresher — and less greasy — than most burgers. Unfortunately, it was dry and somewhat overcooked, even for a fast-food burger. The taste was clean, far less seasoned than a comparable burger at, say, Mom's Burgers. The bun didn't look like much but held up better than most buns.
Toppings: The burgers come with mayo, mustard, iceberg lettuce, tomato, standard pickle slices and raw white onions. The cheese, if you get it, is American.
Master Burger also makes burgers, in a variety of sizes, topped with egg, avocado, chili, bacon and pastrami. The bacon is standard-issue, nowhere near the so-thick-and-chewy-it's-almost-ham bacon at Mom's but definitely a cut above the so-thin-I-can't-believe-they-can-legally-call-it-bacon you find at typical fast-food burger shacks.
Sides: We recommend the chili cheese fries ($3.19, small; $4.56), a hill of crisp, hearty, medium-thick fries swimming in mildly pungent chili and melted American cheese.
Dessert: $3.55 will get you a milkshake — in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or pineapple — or a root beer float. It's Day 26 of our 30 Burgers in 30 Days quest, and, we admit, we've hit some burger fatigue. Unless dessert looks mind-blowing, we're not about to try it.
The Upshot: This is a better-than-average and incredibly inexpensive burger, not worth driving across town for but worth making a detour for if you're in the area. Get the chili cheese fries.
Pro-tip: Lines can grow long and tables are scarce, so many customers call in their order then pick it up.
Exercise: 45-min. elliptical trainer
- Day 25: Burgers & Burrata at Little Dom's in Los Feliz
- 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