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Jul 19, 2008 01:35 PM

Another take on 8 oz - lots of potential here

I went to 8 oz last night. My recommendation: wait a few weeks before going. I think that they need to iron out some of the kinks here, but once they have, I think this will be a fixture in the LA burger scene.

The positives:
1. The focus on "everything homemade," including the heirloom tomato ketchup and the house cured bacon. This means that that assortment of burger toppings is varied and outstanding.
2. The room itself - spacious and airy, reminded me of a New York bistro but without being cramped.
3. The prices -- extremely reasonable with burgers starting at $8 and burger, fries and drink combo at $13 -- given the quality and the space.
4. The fries and onion rings. Absolutely excellent. I am always partial to Kennebec fries when they are properly made, and these are.
5. The grass fed beef - declicious.
6. Lots of little nooks and crannies on the menu to explore, like the "three sliders and three drafts" for $15 (I think) which apparently come with exotic meats which aren't listed.
7. Desserts - didn't blow me away but the chocolate cupcake was fine.
8. The drinks -- all made with fesh juices and carefully concocted.

The negatives:
1. THE BUN! Others have mentioned this, and apparently last night the way they were doing the buns was even worse. The bun is hard and large (apparently supplied by La Brea Bakery) and overwhelms the burger. I think that they were heating the buns in the oven, making them even harder, and then toasting them - turning them into something resembling a hard hockey puck. My sense is that they are aware of this issue and hopefully will fix it. I haven't run into anyone who thinks that this is an appropriate burger bun.
2. The service - last night although service was professional, it took something like an hour to get the food. This again is clearly something that they will figure out, but the ktichen staff is probably overwhelmed right now by a fairy complicated menu (for a burger spot), with multiple beef types, multiple patty sizes, numerous sides and toppings, etc etc.
3. The non-grass fed beef - it was hard to tell because my "8 oz" patty was actually overcooked, making it somewhat dry and dense. My friend's grass fed patties were perfectly cooked and not dry. I wonder if the 8 oz patty is simply not as good, or if it just wasn't cooked properly - I'm not really sure about this.
4. Topping ratio. I could barely detect the lettuce, for example. Were there onions on the burger? Not really sure. I personally like a bit of a detectable crunch. On the other hand, they were somewhat heavy handed with the mustard.
5. The veggie burger - I didn't try it, but my friends thought it was inedible.
6. Can you believe it - if you order french fries you don't get ketchup with them automatically? You can have it for $1. The ketchup is expensive stuff, but perhaps this should be spelled out on the menu.

Overall, I am guessing that once they streamline the menu and service a bit, and find a decent bun, Govind will have a winner on his hands.

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  1. They sell fries and then try to charge for ketchup?! Unacceptable. If they are trying to justify doing an expensive housemade ketchup, fine -- charge a buck for it. But offer Heinz as a free alternative.

    1. I'm going to agree with Dylan's assertion that 8oz has a lot of potential, but needs some time to work out the kinks. I was also at 8oz on Friday and here are my thoughts:

      Burger: Holistically the burger was delicious (8oz with bel passe cheese); reminded me of a very high quality, gourmet Big Mac. Admittedly my patty was thinner than I would have liked and definitely not the medium-rare I requested, but as a whole with the toppings and bun it was very good. Oddly I didn't have any issues with the bun and usually the bun to burger ratio is a huge deal for me (I often find myself removing half the bun to get the correct ratio).

      Don't expect it to taste anything like the burgers at places like FO or 25 Degrees or Hungry Cat or the Bowery. Those places are more about a big juicy, high quality patty while the patty here is smaller and thinner and seems to be more about the burger as a whole.

      Sides: Had the fries and onion rings. Fries were crisp and flavorful. Onion rings were fantastic and like nothing I've ever had. They were dipped in some kind of batter that was thick but very light at the same time, almost like a dough.

      My only complaint is that the portions for the sides were miniscule. We only got five onion rings, which I guess wasn't too bad as each one was quite large. However we only received a very small handful of fries. It might have been an appropriate portion size, but half the fun of fries is sharing them and these were in no way shareable. I felt guilty asking my date for even one. Seems especially egregious as so little labor and cost is involved with fries. Also, I noticed my neighbor had the potato skin and was only given one. I know $4 isn't a ton for a side, but a single potato skin?! Portion size was a bit of an issue in general, as another neighbor complained that the grilled cheese he ordered seemed like more of an appetizer than an entree (looked small to me too).

      Service: Seated right away. Our waiter was very friendly, very knowledgeable and took a lot of time with each customer explaining the menu and answering questions. However over an hour and a half elapsed from the time we ordered till when we got out food and we had to ask repeatedly for things like drinks, water, etc. As time ticked on and we watched every table that was seated after us get served before us (though not before one couple stormed out in frustration at not getting food in a timely fashion), we enquired about our food. The waiter and two managers came over to apologize for the delay and told us our entire meal would be comped. To me that shows they genuinely care about service and their customers, so I fully believe that once enough time has passed service will never be an issue again.

      Atmosphere: Crowded, lively, great rock music. Definitely felt more like a local bar than a restaurant and the bar was quite crowded with people drinking by the time we left.

      All in all I will definitely be back in a month or so once they've worked out the kinks.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Newkie

        The short rib grilled cheese, which is a carryover from the Table 8 menu, always was an appetizer/bar snack. So it sounds like they just left it as it was which, taste-wise, was incredible, and well worth the $8 price.

        But, I agree, if they're gonna group it under Sandwiches, with the Tuna-melt and Meatball Mini-subs, then they should probably grow the size (and the price if necessary).

        Curious if those other sandwiches are also on the small side?

        1. re: wutzizname

          P.S. The Kobe Slider from the old Table 8 bar menu was also sublime. Wondering if that quality has transferred over to their new Slider Sampler and/or what these mystery slider meats might be??

        2. re: Newkie

          Follow-up to my previous post: Had another burger craving this week, so went back to 8oz on Monday. Figured more than two weeks had passed since my first trip and Monday is a slow night, so we shouldn't have any food/service issues. I was additionally reassured when I walked in and saw Govind walking around (didn't look like he was in chef mode, but at least checking up on things).

          A friend and I ordered everything we tried the first time around to be consistent and I have to say I was really disappointed. Once again my medium rare request came back as medium-well done. Actually everything was overcooked: the fries ended up hard all the way through, the onion rings were a touch burnt and much too crispy and the bun was now like two pieces of hard rock. Service however was much better and we got our food right away.

          I'll come back for the wonderful and inexpensive drinks, but not the food.

        3. But if no one says this is a great burger, and relatively soon, why go? I'm not getting it. And believe me, I want another great burger, even if it's different great. Can it be?

          1 Reply
          1. re: la tache burger

            Like I said, really enjoyed mine. Even called it "delicious" which is pretty much the same as "great" in my book. Dylan said the grass-fed burger was also "delicious" though not the 8oz. Either way, don't think the burger can really be judged fairly till they've had some time to find their groove. The restaurant has been open less than a week.

            As to witzizname's post, you're probably right about it being worth the price. Just feel like they need to do a better job of explaining to customers that the sandwich isn't truly an entree in and of itself. Don't think I saw how the other sandwiches measured up.

          2. I'm really excited about this place; I can walk to it, love the look and I have a fondness for burger joints like this (25 Degrees or 90210) even though I don't eat any meat besides fish. So...
            Is the veggie burger really that bad?
            Has anyone tried the fish?

            1. yes. The bun was just too much, so I abandoned it. Otherwise, the patty and toppings blended together very well. The onion rings were sublime. The Kennebec fries were pretty darn good too. Our waitress was unprepared but at the same time cutely apologetic, so I'll forgive her. She was like, "Our grass is grass-fed... oops, I mean..." haha

              You can find pics and my other rambling thoughts here: http://mikeyhateseverything.blogspot....