[Missed an installment? Catch up with 30 Burgers in 30 Days in our meaty archive.]
The obscene parking rates. The I'm-pretending-I-don't-want-you-to-look-at-me-but-I-desperately-want-you-to-look-at-me clientele. A rooftop bar with an amazing view that in no way compensates for its overpriced, badly made cocktails. There are plenty of things to dislike about The Standard, downtown LA's flagship hipster hotel. Its restaurant, however, isn't one of them.
The awkwardly named The Restaurant (still not the most SEO-unfriendly name we've seen) is open 24/7. The decor is fabulous, with bubbly white tiles lining the walls and cheery yellow leather booths seemingly designed to mock your hangover. As a bonus, the food is even good.
More or less an upscale diner, The Restaurant has a new chef, Micah Fields, and he's offering his own take on the gastro burger meme. In addition to the restaurant's standard bacon and cheddar burger, Fields has dreamed up a Burger of the Week featuring exotic meats like wild boar, lamb, shrimp and even bear. We were hoping for bear, but this week, it's rabbit.
Meat & Bun: The rabbit burger ($12) is supposed to come on a carrot and herb bun, but those were still baking when we placed our order, so we got the standard bun. It's a firm, bouncy thing, equal parts brioche and white bread bun, but with more heft and rigidity.
The meat also tasted like a marriage, in this case between chicken and some larger, four-legged creature. The pale flesh was springy, coarsely ground and dotted with herbs: chives, perhaps a hint of sage. It was a bit dry but far more moist than almost any chicken burger we've ever had. It's nicely browned, not charred like a beef burger would typically be.
Toppings: Under the burger is a hot pink smear of beet aoli, the sugary beets tempering the tart mayo and adding a subtle note of sweetness to the gamey meat. Underneath is a slice of gorgeous tomato and a bed of salad greens including flower petals (nasturtium, we think). It seems like a peaceful resting place for Little Bunny Foo Foo.
The kicker here is the slice of paper-thin pancetta, more cured than smoked, and crisped to a fine point. It's the polar opposite of the thick, chewy bacon that tops the regular burger. Both are terrific and perfectly suited to their meats. Where the delicate round of pancetta would get lost atop the meaty, massive beef burger, the bulky bacon strips could overwhelm the rabbit.
Sides: In an ode to the origins of the protein, the burger comes with a shot glass of carrot juice mixed with fizzy water. It's fun but superfluous. While the regular burger comes with fries, you'll have to spend the extra $7 to order a side of fries with the burger of the week. Their skinny fries are good but not that good.
Upgrade to the portobello fries, which for the same price, gets you a sizable cone of mushroom strips dipped in tempura-esque onion ring batter and deeply fried. These are a lot to handle for one or even two people. For a table of four, they're the perfect size.
Dessert: Parked in a lot that charges $3 for every 15 minutes, we couldn't afford to stay and try dessert.
The Upshot: Drinks cocktails (or beer or wine) somewhere else, then come here either A) late at night, with friends for a post-booze fill-up or B) in the a.m., alone and wearing sunglasses, for a hangover cure. Order the burger.
Exercise: 30-min. walk at 4mph. 45-min. spinning class
- Day 29: Burgers & Fried Gnocchi at Osteria La Bucca
- Day 28: Hamburger Habit in West LA
- Day 27: Taylor's Prime Steak in Koreatown
- Day 26: Master Burger in Jefferson Park
- 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