Open just over a year now, the urbane — but never aloof — Everson Royce Bar has quite the gastronomic pedigree for what was initially envisioned as a simple neighborhood watering hole.
Even more surprising, the highlight of the well-curated "bar eats" menu is the small, squishy "single burger." Chef and co-owner Matt Molina, previously executive chef at Mozza, wanted to serve a thin, drippy burger. He was inspired by the unprepossessing cheeseburger he thoroughly enjoyed at the famed Au Cheval in Chicago's West Loop. Molina recalled the burger's Dijonnaise and "unobtrusive" brioche egg bun: Though the patty was thin, it was the focus.
It was not quite a "culinary epiphany," he said, just the inspiration for a comforting cheeseburger that patrons would thoroughly enjoy. The Au Cheval burger also didn't look like much on the plate. At Everson Royce, too, the flavor leads.
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ERB's cheeseburger contains the merest of toppings: a lashing of Dijonnaise, and mild, melted Tillamook Cheddar cheese. That's it. The four-ounce beef patty is sourced from Harris Ranch, courtesy of Huntington Meats' Nancy Silverton Burger Blend (80% prime chuck to 20% fat), which goes on a buttered egg bun. The ground beef blend also is sold at Huntington Meats at the Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, in case you want to try it at home.
Each burger is griddled for all of three minutes, since it's a thinner patty. According to Molina, a number of patrons visit just for the burger.
Molina describes the cheeseburger as "something approachable for all guests, uncomplicated and straightforward." They are served with homemade dill pickle spears, and that's it. The less than aesthetically pleasing appearance of the burger — compared with other gourmet burgers around town — is apparently by design. "It shows the restraint within it."
1936 E. Seventh St, Downtown; (213) 335-6166, erbla.com.