This is a no non-sense 100th post. If you’re going comment about Comme Ca’s travesty of a burger, I will tell you to STFU, GTFO, then delete your response. Let’s get down to what we all like, a damn good burger.
On the West Side, Taste on Melrose and Rustic Canyon have been the focus of a certain someone’s burger obsession for a long time. Taste on Melrose, in WeHo, lured and culled with the promise of a “Kobe” burg for $14 during lunch. On the day of extreme burger hankering, this piggy’s stomach was stuffed by Taiwanese breakfast items so Taste had to be deferred to dinner. DineLA is still running and Taste on Melrose is still running their prix-fixe menu. Doing a quick price tabulation for dinner yielded the decision to only order the burger. The burger was indeed a Kobe beef patty, a bit over 1/3 lb, served with “Gorgonzola Cheese, Onion Jam, Arugula, Tomato, On a Sesame Bun”. What does that all even mean? The onion jam was beyond sweet. When one mentions a “jam” on a burger, please don’t give ACTUAL jam? Something evocative of jam’s properties would be just ample, thank you. The “Kobe”-my-ass patty had the smell of Downtown LA’s Pantry diner compacted into a neat stack, ie, it smelled wretched. The juices flowing out of the medium rare loaf made the fingers smell like the grease catcher of Carl’s Jr’s “grill”. This is total, absolute failure in terms of taste and olfactorial pleasure, not to mention a complete waste of Kobe. But the fries? An absolutely delight! Fun, whimsical, shaved and curved like apple chips, with a side of pungent garlic aioli.
A few days later, the Niman Ranch burger at Rustic Canyon beckoned. A full post on Rustic Canyon is in the works (think: sometime in… o.. APRIL?) but the burger was a humbling surprise. “Niman Ranch” burger” with crispy onion rings, sharp Vermont cheddar, home made pickles and wild arugula” with fries for $16. The fries were wildly inconsistent but came in a huge bundle. At $16, Rustic Canyon’s burg is 1 of the most expensive non-Kobe jobbers in all of LA. And dang, it’s worth it. While the cheddar is sharp, it served to only add another dimension of smells without enveloping the beef like the Gorgonzola did to Taste’s assemblage. The bun wasn’t as structurally supportive as Taste’s thick sesame non-brioche pieces, but if eaten promptly, the juices will not completely soggify the bun. This medium rare burger was done a bit more than medium rare, less than medium, more 1/3 rare but the taste is solid. It’s quality beef, not too fatty, not too buttery and didn’t smell like a downer cow. No topping was overtly offensive, and thick arugula served as the perfect lettuce. Micro greens do not belong on a burger. With the garlicky aioli on the side, a bitten burger became the perfect platform for fancy mayo. This is nearly on par with 25 Degrees and Bar Marmont, but little things made it fall just a wee bit short (think: a waifish patty, a mighty boring bun and $2.50 for an egg? SRSLY?)
Nearly a third of the diners munched on burgers that nite. Some of them might even be burger obsessed but… none of ’em have gone on 3-stop burger tastings – Homey Don’t Like Crawls, “crawls” are for gluttons – in the hood.
** HOORAY FOR 100th Post **
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