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Sep 21, 2006 12:50 AM

Extraordinary Burger at Unusual Place

I was looking for a place at lunch today to watch the baseball game and have a cheesesteak. Stopped into Markie Mark but left quickly as they were doing loud sidewalk work right outside and their air conditioning was off.

Decided to stop into Philly West, on Westwood just south of Santa Monica Blvd. Stepping out of the men's room, I noticed flames from a grill lapping at a beautiful charred piece of meat, which at first glance seemed to be a steak but turned out to be their burger. After sitting at the bar, I had one of those Carl's Jr. commercial moments ("Should I get the cheesesteak? Boy, that burger looked good...") and the bartender recommended that I try the burger 'cuz I've already had their very good cheesesteaks. Ordered it w/o mayo, and tried to get her to specify "medium rare but with a good char" to the cook but she said that's how he makes them anyway.

The half-pound oblong burger came very pink in the middle and drippy juicy, served on their cheesesteak rolls and garnished with grilled onions, lettuce and tomato, and American cheese. What a treat! Really hot off the grill, tasty, charred taste melding with the meat and juice caught by the fine roll which had a firm chewy crust. Wow! This is about the best burger I recall having in L.A.

A recent thread talked about Houston's, which paled by comparison, and the Counter elicits much controversy -- I liked mine ok but it was overwhelmed by the toppings. Way better than the Shack, which I like, or Mike's hockey burger, which I also like. My cheeseburger ran $5.45, and a coke refilled three times was $1.95, so my total was $10 after a two-buck tip. I found street parking out front, but they also have some parking in the rear.

Now I don't know if they have the same cook at night or even if they fire up the flame grill when they mostly serve cheesesteaks. But this was really good.

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  1. this place has the best food for the prices!

    i love their hoagie steak which is meat all melted with grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, cheese, onions, lettuce, salt/pepper, oil/vinegar. basically - everything on it sandwich. it is just delicious! and it's somewhere around that same price - less than $6. beers are also like $3. This place is fantastic. and, it is always the same - the quality/taste does not very. that's what makes it my favorite fall back.

    also - if you go more than once, the staff knows you and are super nice.

    1. Thanks for the rec. I went today and got a burger (no mayo) to go, with some cheese fries. The cheese (whiz) for the fries came in a separate container. Ended up dipping the burger in the whiz which took it over the top! Great burger.

      4 Replies
      1. re: deliciouslycheap

        NOTE: I went back tonight with a friend who ordered the burger and it was NOT the same. Different cook in the kitchen, and the quality differential was significant. This time it came with chopped onions in addition to the grilled onions. I tasted it and it was OK. FYI.

        1. re: deliciouslycheap

          when did you go the first time?? i wonder what the name of the better cook is...

          1. re: banquisha

            When I had my fantastic burger it was about noon on a Wednesday. The cook was a white guy, about 50 maybe, with a close-cropped salt-and-pepper beard.

            1. re: banquisha

              I went at lunchtime when I had the good burger -- around 1Pish...last night I went again at about 10P and that was when the burger wasn't cooked as well, etc

        2. the cheeze whiz is unfucking believable in a very nasty but delicious way.

          yeah, philly west is grand, a classic neighborhood bar with a charles bukowski feel to it.

          you can sit here for hours whiling away the afternoon.

          mixed drinks are usually pretty stiff, and it is a very convivial atmosphere. Talk to the regulars at the bar or don't still has a classic atmosphere.

          now, i'm going to have to try that burger.

          and the fries are swell too, although once in a while, they're a little on the burnt side of matters.

          they could use more beers on tap, but the fat tire is still swell.