Disappointment @ 8 Oz Burger Bar, with a happy ending
8:05pm. restaurant full. not 1 single burger in sight. partner in burger chompin' goes outside to play with american bulldog. so cute!
8:15. still first day of soft opening. no one has taken 1 single bite of food.
8:20. first burger served to a cute couple behind me. now they're the only ones eating. wanna go over and take a picture.
8:24. neighboring table got their burger. now I wanna take a bite.
8:27. my telegraph white ale finally comes. server apologizes profusely.
8:29. no other burgers in sight but the beer is hitting the spot...
8:39. burgers arrive.
8:50. Manager Alex arrives to inquire on our experience. an overly serious discussion of bun vs. beef weight ratio vs. "authenticity" ensues. my summary: LA has a LOT of good burgers. Alex bribes me with free desserts.
8:57. Trevor, our really nice (but stressed beyond belief) server reminds us we're getting comp'd desserts. say bring it on!
9:01. Instant dessert-"o"-face.
9:07. Neighboring tables pulls "When Harry Met Sally" I'll-have-what she's-having move. We become fast pals. (Hi Becky! Hi Talia!)
So, what about this burger from Mr. Govind Armstrong, who, btw, was indeed commandeering the kitchen last nite?
Bun to beef ratio is ALL wrong. The bun, nay, roll, ruined the burger. This fact really boggles my mind as the first thing I inquired was the use of ice berg in the "8 Oz". Why iceberg? "Because it's classic". Someone tell me how a 2" roll w/ a split top crust is a traditional burger bun? I get that Burger Bar is trying to be the next Bowery (see Eater LA's side-by-side), but by god, why did you have to copy the funky carb structural support? If you want "height", you go brioche.
Highlights: house pickled cucumber - FAB. house made heirloom tomato ketchup - I THINK it's FAB, but the farked roll stole al the ketchup away from my burger !#@^*( $1 for funked Humboldt Fog cheese. WOWSA that's some putried errr.. "sharp" goat cheese. ABFAB!
Other notes: contrary to its name, the only burger that's actually 8 Oz is the 8 Oz burger. the grass-fed Estancia is only 6 Oz, as is the "Classic". Nancy Silverton herself said the "perfect burger" should be 8 ozs and thick in height: http://tinyurl.com/5kwgho , 8 Oz Burger is no perfect burger.
Dessert: we had the banana sundae without the banana. Stupendously good yet simple. Chewy brownie layered over a thin spread of caramel. No banana per menu, but creme fraiche + strawberry + beyond creamy vanila ice cream floored us.
Final Verdict: skip the burgers, stay for beer and desserts. We had a fantastic time. The staff was wonderful, the crowd ebullient, the room convivial, the desserts panty droppers.
Current "gourmet" burg preference:
Bar Marmont (a burger designed by a Spotted Pig alum, yah, you can't touch that
)25 Deg (who says bad things happen after 2am???)
Bowery with a very lightly grilled Eng. muffin
FO2/Lucky Devil/8 Oz on par. Basically last place.
Current "ghetto" burg pref:
The Burger Stand
7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Went tonight. I walked in about 10 minutes after they opened, and the place was already about 1/4 full and steadily filled. Waiters were all checking in when I sat down, but I was waited on swiftly. My guy was very helpful with recommendations and attentive. Food came quickly, everything hot. I had the aquamiel cocktail, a delicate take on the margarita. The fried olives are wonderful. For burger: classic with bacon & spicy mayo, which was very tasty, nice & goopy but not too much so. (for some reason the pickles stood out--fantastic) I wanted more cocktails, but I was driving home, alas. For dessert--peach shake with snickerdoodle crumbs and an espresso. Lovely! Everything tasted fresh, well seasoned, excellent service throughout, good prices. Portion size is for actual, normal humans, a novelty in itself. I wasn't exploding at the seams, but comfortably full.
Now, I will say this: I slightely prefer the Father's Office burger, but I much prefer 8 Oz's traditional seating and service, not to mention the fact that it's not deafeningly loud. A really tasteful, comfortable, space. I'm also a Lucky Devil's fan, but their dining room is a little too spartan, and you really get a little too much food.
God what is up with that cakey looking bun you are right, it looks all wrong. Thanks for the pointer on Bar Marmont, when I was at the Spotted Pig I saw some people with the burger, looked excellent but I was tempted elsewhere. I hope the rumors about Mario looking at the old Largo space are true, would be great to have something like the Pig on Fairfax. I think I prefer Bowery to Pug these days simply because you can safely pick up the burger. 25 degrees, not so much, I went twice and both times the greens on it came out slimy and wilted like spinach, no bueno.
Tony C, very entertaining report, great context, and btw I am very high on Pug and 25 Degrees; Bowery less so; and I don't even think Lucky Devil deserves to be on your list at all. So that's my context. But my question is -- how was the meat part of the burger? And your report is so deconstructed I didn't get a real sense of how the whole burger was and what it's like compared to other burgers around town. More, please.
re: la tache burger
to clarify, I ate half of both the "8 Oz", (to the left in the series above), and the Estancia grass-fed, (to the right, w/ the grilled green escarole).
the meat? the 8 oz utilized corn-fed angus. good grind, cooked a bit over medium rare. it's good, but patty was too thin and the roll sucked all the juices out of the entire enterprise.
grass fed "Estancia", imported from Argentina, was definitely leaner, "meatier", with a deep taste of cow protein. again, with too thin of a patty and too much bread, what you got with every bite was carb, carb and a bit of cow.
Thanks for the 411 TonyC! I live around the corner and almost went last nite.
I really liked sitting at the bar, having a cocktail & eating bar snacks there before the change.
And I LOVE the 25 degrees burger!
I haven't been to Bar Marmont but headed to Spotted Pig next month when in nyc.