Karma burger at Haché L.A.EXPAND
Karma burger at Haché L.A.
B. Rodell

Hey L.A., There Are 3 New Burgers in Town

In our already burger-soaked city, all of a sudden it's practically impossible to keep up with the flood of new burgers on the scene. It seems as though every day a new burger-centric spot is opening up. In the hopes of giving you some insight into a few of these new options, I checked out three of L.A.'s new burgers and gave them a taste test. 

American Old Faithful burger at Meat District Co.EXPAND
American Old Faithful burger at Meat District Co.
B. Rodell
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Meat District Co. 
This flashy new spot in Pasadena is owned by a company that runs a number of upscale corporate-type restaurants in Australia. In case you were wondering, they're into meat: The menu is in the shape of a cleaver, and a whole section of their offerings comes on meat hooks. They serve a variety of burgers, including a truffle burger and a "surf and turf" burger, which comes with chili crab and shrimp on top of the meat patty. I opted instead for the "American Old Faithful" burger, which comes with greens, tomato, caramelized onions, pickles and "house sauce." 

Despite being the simplest of the options, there's a lot going on with this burger. The bun is topped with multicolored sesame seeds, the onions are pretty sweet, and the house sauce — a creamy, mayo-based concoction — is also kind of sweet. It's a thick patty that was cooked fairly well, but the meat is heavily seasoned. There's no doubt this is a messy, meaty, in-your-face burger experience, but I found it a little overwrought. 

Karma burger at Haché L.A.EXPAND
Karma burger at Haché L.A.
B. Rodell

Haché L.A.
Over on Sunset in Silver Lake is Haché L.A., a business built on the most popular item at Mick's Karma Bar in Irvine: the Karma burger. Owner Michael Schepers aims to introduce Americans to the steak haché, a French-style burger made from freshly ground steak. The patties are ground fresh, cooked immediately and seasoned only on the exterior (as you would a steak). They aren't anywhere near as fatty or mushy as burgers made from traditional ground beef. 

The thing is called a "karma burger" because of its special karma sauce (there are other variations available; I didn't try them), which is a mayo-based tangy sauce. The burger is served with American cheese, lettuce, slivers of red onion and beautifully ripe tomatoes. It's not a thick patty, and though it's advertised as being cooked medium, it's more like medium-well. But there's a whole ton of brawny flavor in the meat, and something honest about its simplicity. Along with a $5 beer from the short but well-chosen draft selection, this burger made for an incredibly satisfying lunch. 

The Holloway burger at the HollowayEXPAND
The Holloway burger at the Holloway
B. Rodell

The Holloway
Replacing Allumette in Echo Park is the Holloway, which is more of a sports bar than a full restaurant. For those of us who loved Allumette, it's a wee bit depressing to see the space filled with big-screen TVs and the menu filled with burgers. But judging it completely on its own merits, the Holloway is a smart concept catering to the beer-and-cheap-food crowd. 

The chef is Brian Huskey, who worked as a research and development chef for Ricardo Zarate, helping with the menus at Picca, Mo-Chica and Paiche. He also had a run on the most recent season of Top Chef, sticking it out through about half of the competition. Huskey's menu is incredibly simple: a couple of salads, some burgers and sandwiches, hand-cut Kennebec fries that are more like fried potato wedges, and a side of truffle mac and cheese. I tried the Holloway burger, with caramelized onion, cheddar, butter lettuce, aioli and "smoky ketchup." 

The Holloway presents a thick burger patty, cooked to a fantastic, almost-bloody medium. The sweet-smoky-tangy flavors of the other elements make for an incredibly rich little burger (and it is kind of little — not a slider, certainly, but it's no behemoth). I don't think the Holloway will enter into Los Angeles' burger hall of fame, but for a game-time snack, it's pretty hard to fault. 

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