James Beard Award-winning Best Chef of the West Michael Cimarusti's name is always synonymous with fish. Whether it’s his dedication to wild caught sustainable seafood at one of the country’s most noted and elegant restaurants Providence or being instrumental in the Dock to Dish program in California which connects local fisherman to member restaurants, Cimarusti is the Fisher King.
Pegged by many as Neptune’s son himself and the "Sustainable Seafood Wizard of the West," at his impressively growing seafood-focused culinary empire on the West Coast he tirelessly combines his extensive knowledge and appreciation of the dynamic nature of seafood with an advocacy for sustainable fishing practices evident in every dish.
But not everybody loves fish.
A little known secret about Cimarusti is his other obsession — big, fat burgers. May is National Hamburger Month, so to honor the king of all sandwiches and Cimarusti's versatility and unending evolution, we're spotlighting two of the Michelin-starred chef's most beloved burgers. Wear short sleeves, these will have juices running down to your elbows.
As an homage to one of his guilty pleasures — the McDonald's cheeseburger — Cimarusti created the cultishly popular BTU Burger at Best Girl downtown in the Ace Hotel. His version is a 4-oz. patty dressed with gooey Cabot cheddar, homemade umeboshi mayo, caramelized onions and house made dill relish on a freshly baked potato roll sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with a side of crispy fries. And better than the golden arches, there are rotating beers on tap at the Best Girl bar, like Allagash White, Alesmith Nut Brown Ale and El Sully Lager.
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How often have you found yourself the only landlubber out with friends at a seafood restaurant, going for the company instead of the food, trying to find something on the menu to suit a carnivore?
The Hook Burger is worth the visit to Cimarusti's beloved New England-inspired seafood eatery Connie and Ted’s in West Hollywood. Served with a choice of traditional coleslaw or fries, the massive sandwich comes with Hook’s four-year-old cheddar, crunchy sour pickles, onion, lettuce and thousand island dressing. The Bacon Hook adds think slices of Nueske's bacon.
Best Girl, 927 S. Broadway; downtown; (213) 235-9660, bestgirldtla.com
Connie & Ted’s, 8171 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 848-2722, connieandteds.com