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Just ate at Hamburger Hamlet

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I know I know, its a small chain yet I haven't been there in ages.

The menu is much bigger now too, I started with a great cup of french onion soup and my main dish was their seared tuna and vegi's over rice, simply delcious.

My friend had a burger which he enjoyed.

Any idea how their ribs are as well as the halibut fish tacos?

I went to the Sherman Oaks location on Van Nuys

Thanks,

Stuart

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  1. When the kitchen help is paying attention at any of these places, the food can be pretty good - never brilliant, of course, because it's all by corporate formula, but those recipes are mostly good ones. My in-laws' favorite brunch spot is the one on South Lake in Pasadena, and except for the tendency to overcook the poached eggs (whereupon they get sent back) the Eggs Benedict are pretty good (though I do not recommend the crab-cake version; mine tasted like Hamburger Helper, and the oil had been grossly overheated. Gak!), as are all their other breakfast items in general. I have had the fish & chips at that one and on Sunset in West Hollywood, very good both times. I ask for the steak fries and some extra tartar sauce for dipping. Oh, and the burgers are pretty good, too. I like the Cajun burger, with chipotle mayonnaise.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Will Owen

      I'm still mourning the Hollywood Boulevard one. : (
      What got put in there instead, by the way???
      And anyone, is the Lobster Bisque still good?

    2. I haven't been in a while, but IMHO when HH got bought out a few years ago it went downhill immediately. Very fond memories of working all day at my great aunt & uncle's beauty supply on Sunset (across from Rock n' Roll Ralphs) then going to HH in Hollywood. Always felt like a grown up lady sipping split pea soup and drinking a Haagen Daaz coffee milkshake. As I grew older my tastes grew to the addictive "golden fried chicken wings" served with hot apricot sauce... EVIL YUMMINESS. Maybe a miracle has occurred and it's back to normal? I can pray...

      5 Replies
      1. re: Oh Robin

        I would not call it a miracle but there has been an ownership change as discussed in a recent Lobster Bisque thread

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/419142

        Also see http://www.hamburgerhamlet.com/index....

        1. re: TravelPath

          Thanks for the link. Sadly, no more split pea. I also remember fondly the egg custard lulu dessert. Just part of my memory now...

        2. re: Oh Robin

          I think the unevenness of the food quality is a good example of how a corporation's trying to control quality by demanding conformity to the official recipes can actually DIMINISH quality by turning cooks into "just guys doing their jobs." Good way to generate apathy. OTOH, I've noticed a strong willingness at HH to accommodate special requests, and to respond graciously to complaints. Pa-in-law sends his eggs back if they're overpoached, and always gets perfect ones to replace them.

          1. re: Will Owen

            Still curious if anybody has tried HH ribs or the halibut fish tacos?

            Thank you,

            Stuart

            1. re: Hypnotic23

              I think HH has improved drastically in the past few years! I take the Brentwood location over the Sherman Oaks location any day! I think they are defiantly on the right track!

        3. Their ribs used to be pretty good, yet why order halibut or any other kind of fish tacos at Hamburger Hamlet, unless you are dragged there by a carnivore and you cannot stand the sight of red meat.
          Just a question.
          As to the Sherman Oaks location, still probably the worst physical plant of them all - the most unappetizing environment to eat any food, especially by comparison to any of their other remaining units. I will not eat there for that reason alone - not but once in 25 years in Sherman Oaks! I go to the Sunset/Weho location if I need my fix, onion rings, burger of choice, etc. Much more like the good ole daze!!!

          7 Replies
          1. re: carter

            Good Point Carter, the only reason why I asked about the Halibut Tacos is this is a favorite of mine and you cant find a good fish taco anywhere in our area, Bronco's is like a fish stick in a tortilla, Tony's Mexican is decent just dont care for the fast food environment, etc.

            Thank you for the feedback,

            Stuart

            1. re: Hypnotic23

              Boy do I agree with you on Bronco, and I live 2 blocks from it. Never have gotten that place, yet there are now 3 of them.
              For fast food Mexican, Casita Tacos al carbon on Magnolia at Bakman in NOHO is pretty good, as has been Poquito Mas(altho it has been at least 2 years since there), and Tortas Mexico on Ventura near Vineland.
              Never eaten at Tony's due to the parking issue - it truly sucks!

              1. re: Hypnotic23

                I'd probably eat the fish tacos at Islands (fried not grilled) before trying them at HH, but then again I never go to the Sherman Oaks HH despite having grown up eating at HH a lot (mostly Brentwood though). Bronco is terrible, period. I think La Fogata may have fish tacos but I probably wouldn't try them.

                1. re: Debbie W

                  Had them both places (HH at Sepulveda just north of National) and Islands (Pico in WLA) wins by a fin (this win was not a fluke).

                2. re: Hypnotic23

                  As another SO denizen - I agree 1) Bronco sux, 2) It is a shame about HH. I grew up with it at both Van Nuys Blvd. and Westwood. For fish tacos, Sharkeys on Burbank does a good job. And give Tony's a chance. Yes. the parking is ridiculous but the husband and wife that run the place are very nice and work hard to provide good food. And their chile rellenos aren't greasy like most!

                3. re: carter

                  I seriously doubt the Sherman Oaks Hamburger Hamlette could be worse than the Palms location on Sepulveda. I give this HH a shot every year or so because they used to be good in the 90's. The last few times they have been horrible in just about every way. Bland overpriced food, slow inattentive service, dirty glasses and dishes and an odd rodent like smell. The place has a long history of car break ins and credit card number theft (look it up). Every time I go here I think it's got to get better but it never does. I've eaten at hundreds of places on the west side and this one is consistantly the worst of them all (even worse than AM PM microwave burgers). Do yourself a favor and avoid this location at all costs.

                  1. re: carter

                    What is wrong with the SO location? The environment inside? Or the physical location? I find it relaxing.

                  2. We've been Hamlet fans since the late 50's. My Mom used to take me to the one on Beverly Drive whenever I was home from college and I took my wife there on our first date (well, the one on San Vicente - Brentwood, anyway).

                    They've had great lobster bisque forever! My other favorites then were the rice pudding, the tin roof sundae and the Oak Plank hamburger steak (which was actually served on an oak plank in those days).

                    Over the years they closed locations and the Lewises sold out years ago, but we still try to visit one at least once a year. The lobster bisque seems to have less lobster in it but it's still great, and the Oak Plank isn't quite the same on a regular plate. And I do get funny looks from young servers if I tell them when I first ate at HH. Overall the food quality hasn't changed all that much, I don't think, but the old-fashioned southern service (which the state of Califoria took the Lewises to task over - they were one of the first reverse discrimination cases I ever heard of) isn't quite the same. But all-in-all I'd be very happy if they put one anywhere near my home in South OC.

                    1. Oddly enough, the Hamlet offers a pretty good happy hour. It's a bit of a tradition (and a joke), but a few times a year my friend and I meet at the one in Palms for Blue Moons and their "zircles" (round, fried zucchini), and baby cheeseburgers. We laugh about the place, but honestly, they do make some tasty happy hour appetizers. You can't beat the price, either. About five years ago at the Brentwood location I had their bbq meatloaf with mashed potatoes and it was quite good.

                      1. We went to the one in Pasadena a couple weeks ago and had pretty impressive service. One of my friends didn't like the burger she got (too many peppercorns) and mentioned it to the waitstaff who had noticed she didn't eat much. Within minutes the manager came to the table to apologize, give us gift certificates (in excess of the original cost of the dish), AND remove the item from our bill. They also offered to make a burger to order for my friend.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: trixel

                          I find the service good as well. Last time I ordered a burger medium rare and it came medium. I took a bite, sent it back, and had a new one in about 2 minutes!

                        2. I have had decent luck at the Brentwood location -- easy parking, screens to watch the game, pretty good bartenders during happy hour. I've been happy with their bloody marys and bar food, and they still make a good burger.

                          What is EVER going to happen with their old space in Westwood Village? It has been boarded up for close to a decade, and a succession of places on the corner (most recently Star Chicken) have failed as well. With the new condo construction to the east, can't someone make a successful go of it there?

                          1. I LOVE the Hamlet. I am from Los Angeles and in high school Hamlet was a date night favorite. Zucchini zircles and a burger and off to the movies.

                            We still love the one on Sunset and it's great to take out of towners to look for celebs. One night, Elton John took over the tap room for his birthday party.

                            Do they still have Goth bingo night?

                            1. I Loved the Turkey burgers at HH..Is it still on the menu?