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Another take on 8 oz - lots of potential here

  • d

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....

              1. BTW- Ketchup issue is fixed (plenty of the 52 Variety stuff available gratis) and the Buns are in order now too! thanks for the feedback!

                1. Went for the first time last night and sat at the bar I have to say I think they've ironed out some issues that others have raised. First off the service was impeccable; not only were orders taken promptly (both food and drink) but we had more than one follow-up from our server.

                  I have to admit we hedged our bets; having read the mixed reviews we decided to order cocktails and snacks at the bar and if things seemed to be up to snuff we'd stick around for dinner. We started with a Whiskey Sour and a Manhattan and ordered the Deviled Eggs and Kennebec fries -- and yes, we threw in the heirloom ketchup to see what all the fuss is about. At $8, ($8!!!) the cocktails are hands down one of the best deals in the city. Are they Hungry Cat standard? Well no, but then again they're $8 and they're pretty damn fantastic, not to mention sizeable and strong. As for the food, the eggs were very good and the fries were crisp, hot and a good portion. And yes, the ketchup is worth it.

                  At this point we decided to stay for dinner and try the burger. We ordered the $15 combo: 8oz burger, choice of side, draft beer. For sides, I had the fried pickles and my better half had the onion rings. We both had Telegraph ales.

                  Ah, the burger. Can a burger be misunderstood? I think this one might be. This is not a gourmet burger so it's somewhat unfair to be lining it up against F.O and it's ilk. This is a counter burger -- yes, one with ambitions but still very much a counter burger. This is about iceberg and white onion and mayo, not arugula and blue cheese. It's messy, unwieldy and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. And as for the bun, I think a lesser one would be obliterated by all the mess. It took a minute to get past but a few minutes in and I was sold on it's ability to hang on to all the juice. Both burgers were cooked perfectly medium rare.

                  As for the quibbles about portion size, I think they have may have bumped up the servings because both the pickles and onions were generous. And while the onion rings were very good, the pickles were the slam dunk and by far the favorite side of the night.

                  For my money, this is great recession dining -- budget friendly comfort food with a ton of good beer on tap and affordable stiff cocktails. I think this will be my sort of middle of the week, I've-had-a-bad-day spot. Village Idiot has served that purpose from time to time but I always leave feeling underwhelmed, over charged, and vaguely irritated. Will 8oz replace F.O as my favorite burger? Certainly not, but I think this place will serve a different purpose and I'll probably end up here just as much,

                  1. I was also there last night. Found most of the reported kinks to be ironed out. Service was great. Biggest problem by far was the NOISE. Unbelievable how hard it was to have a conversation. Worse then Comme Ca which I had thought was unbeatable. I'll never go back when the place is busy, unless I'm looking to sit at the bar by myself and not talk.

                    That said...

                    Food overall was good. I had no problem with the (I assume, retooled) bun. Actually quite liked it. However I really didn't care for the fries (which others here seem to be raving about). They reminded me of In-N-Out's which I've always hated. Definitely won't be ordering those again. The onion rings were pretty great but I thought the portion was still kinda miserly. And I actually didn't care for the Heirloom Ketchup that much. It was interesting to try, but I'd rather have some Heinz next time.

                    Nice banana split with fresh (clearly house-made) ice cream.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wutzizname

                      P.S. One of the problems with 8 Oz. is that they have this great list of customizable options (interesting add-ons and cheeses and house-made sauces) but all of the burgers already come with so much on them (including mustard and their heirloom ketchup, which is a pretty significant sauce in itself) that anything more is just overkill.

                      What they need is an option to start "naked" with the various patties, and then hit the add-ons. I assume one can just ask to hold everything and then customize away, but they should make that clear on the menu...so those of us who've been beaten down by the non-modifying F.O.s and Terronis and Animals of the world don't feel like we're being difficult.

                      Know what I mean?

                      (And for those Chowhounders who are about to hit 'reply' to tell me that no one should ever feel like they're being difficult when they're paying good money for something, I say, you worry about how you feel, and let those of us who care about other people (like servers and cooks) worry about how we feel. Thank you.)

                    2. I went to 8 Oz last night, and I thought it was a great bang for your buck place, kind of like an "FO-lite". Food wasn't as good as FO, but still very good, but quite a bit cheaper. Honestly, a really great place to chill and eat, very unpretentious. Although they could have done without the Saddle Ranch decoration...... and let's get the nomenclature right - they were calling their buffalo wings "chicken confit". HAHA

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: SoCal_Kris

                        Why HA HA on the chicken dish? Confit describes a certain method of preparing the chicken, (or duck) so I doubt that they are throwing the term out there unless they are using that preparation style.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Correct, confit is a preperation method for all types of meat not just birds. Confit translates to cooking in ones own juices or fat, usually slow. Carnitas is technically pork confit.

                          YUm.

                          So I'm still torn if I should go to 8oz or Village Idiot today for lunch...

                      2. after we tried to walk in the not front door, it just so happened govind was standing close by, so directed us to the proper entrance. i wish he would have joined us, because i would have loved to discuss why he did certain things. we had the burger trio with beer to match. loved the pork, but not the bun. liked the beef, but not the bun. loved the lamb, but, you guessed it, not the bun. bread was overly dense and dull, not horrible, just not anything close to be good enough to make me swoon. beer promised to come before the food came significantly later. one beer was the wrong one and had to be sent back. one of the beers with the tasting plate was just plain nasty. so, govind, since i didn't have the nerve to invite you to our table, what's with the bread?

                        1. I loved the bun. I have to say it.
                          Bun was not hard. It was "eggy" and to my taste delicious.
                          Whether this is a good sign for others or not, I will add that this was the first burger I've had in a while that I could actually eat with my hands, no resort to fork. At 25 degrees, Lucky Ds, etc., I always have to give up at some point, a massacre of beef and toppings falling from my fingers.
                          Perfect balance of bread to meat to condiments.
                          Had the "Classic" with cucumber relish and white cheddar.
                          Other good things:
                          Cool waitress.
                          Prices, as mentioned.
                          $8 cocktails already a good thing. Really good Manhattan on the rocks, of the rye not bourbon school. Of the lemon rind, no cherry school. When I ordered a second one, the bartender "made a mistake" and made too much of my Manhattan, so it arrived in a (basically full) water glass. You will gather that I did not mind "monster cocktail."
                          I like the "wine list." All glasses are 8$, all bottles 32$. Like that kind of editing.
                          Truffled potato skins! Truffled potato skins!
                          Liked the "caesar" salad made with escarole, home made sourdough croutons, and white anchiovies.
                          Did I mention $8 cocktails?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: George

                            Not impressed. Went the other night late like 10pm or so. The waiter kept apologizing for his lack of attention. The burger was nothing special...but those TRUFFLED POTATO SKINS were the best thing I ate...Everyone has their favorite burger joint, this is not mine. I think it will do well purely because of the location.

                            1. re: snackgather

                              This seems a food trend in LA at the moment. I can compare 8OZ truffled potato skins to the truffled potato chips at Ford's Filling Station, which I had over the weekend. Ford's kills in every which way (at least what I ate was fantastic) but not the truffled chips. The memory of 8OZ was too fresh, they killed, much much better. Then again, they were not "chips" but skins. Ford's version just had almost no truffle flavor.

                          2. Was back for the 3rd time last night and was kind of surprised to get what appeared to be...a store-bought sesame-seed bun.

                            Didn't get a chance to ask my waitress about it until after it had disappeared, into my belly, but she said she hadn't noticed.

                            Um...kind of hard to imagine that she didn't know that either they'd made a significant change in their primary item...or maybe they were just out and subbing on the fly. Either way, it seemed odd.

                            I suppose it's possible that it was a house-made version of the traditional store-bought bun. If so, it was a dead ringer.

                            P.S. Tried the much lauded truffled potato skins this time. Eh.

                            1. New twist on a return visit. I'm standing by the truffled skins, they perfumed the resto before they arrived on my plate, and both wife and I got them, and they were excellent again. But this time I ordered the 8 oz, and wife again got grass-fed. When the burgers arrived: they were on TWO DIFFERENT buns. The 8 oz was on the La Brea Bakery brioche bun, which I have already posted above that I love. The grass-fed was on the store-bought looking somewhat sad looking sesame seed bun. I told my wife to send it back, but since she usually takes half the bun off anyway, she didn't bother. I asked the waiter what gives after on the 2 different buns. He confirmed the brioche bun was from La Brea Bakery, and that they decided it was "too much" bun, "too large" for any of their burgers but the big 8 oz. The others come on the sesame bun. I asked if you could request the La Brea Bakery bun even if you were ordering a smaller burger than the 8 oz, he said sure, I don't see why not (evidently it hasn't been happening though). Since both the smaller burgers and the 8 oz burger share the same "shelf space"--they are the same width, more or less, the 8 oz is just thicker--I don't see the logic here. Hope they find the magic bun equation, I am putting my vote in for the brioche bun from La Brea is they are listening/reading! That sesame bun was sad looking.

                              1 Reply
                              1. I had lunch there today and was favorably impressed. I started off with the kobe corn dog which was fluffy, crisp, beefy and tatsy--though I did not think the violet mustard added anything of value other than contrasting color (I would have preferred a coarse ground mustard). I then had the 8oz, which came out cooked as ordered, juicy and flavorful on a non-sesame seeded bun (not too hard) and came with a small ramekin of ketchup. For a side, I had a side of beer-battered onion rings, which were great. They just started offering Bloody Marys ($8) and I succumbed to the temptation to try one. It was pretty good, perhaps a touch spicier than most, and came with a pickle spear rather than a celery stalk; there was also a tray of condiments to boost the flavor if one wanted: celery salt, ground pepper, habanero sauce (!), horseradish, lemon and lime, and tabasco.

                                1. Had the grass fed burger and the veggie burger. Grass fed burger was pretty flavorless. Gotta love the stale, McD's sesame seed bun.

                                  The waitress said the veggie burger was vegan, which it is not. It was pasty in the middle and overall was a decent, if not spectacular burger.

                                  Got a side of the truffled "fries". Suffers from In&Out syndrome.

                                  Overall, meh.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: choctastic

                                    How do you know that the veggie burger wasn't vegan?

                                  2. I like the vibe of the place. Tried 2 burgers, they were ok. I prefer the Village Idiot.

                                    1. Went there couple days ago, and it was pretty good. I expected it to be mediocre from the reviews, but i was pleasantly surprised. I had the fish burger, grilled, which was really tasty. The fish was perfectly cooked, fresh, and not dry. My friend had their regular 8oz burger which she said was juicy, and perfectly cooked. I guess they fixed the bun problem because mine was fine. I actually loved the fries (maybe b/c i like in-n-out fries) and it came with regular heinz ketchup. We also ordered the fried cheese curds which was... okay at best. Some of the larger pieces were cold and not melted... it wasn't so crisp and none of them seemed like it was fresh out the batter. I dont think i'll ever order that again....
                                      The service was great and our waiter was verrrrry attentive (maybe a little too much...)
                                      I really like the atmosphere and the vibe. I would definitely go again.

                                      1. 8 Oz - A HALF-POUND OF DISAPPOINTMENT...
                                        I went to 8 Oz. last Thursday night and it's taken me an entire week to get over the pathetic and disappointing experience I had there. Let's start with the positives - they did a lovely job reinventing the old Table 8 space and I was delighted to see some of my old faves from the Table 8 lounge menu on the 8 oz. menu. That's about as far as the positivity goes.

                                        The service (if you can even stretch the imagination enough to call it that) was atrocious... we spent more time flagging someone down than enjoying the meal. My friend actually made the comment, "I've seen more of our server's back than her front." We did, however, get to visit with another server, 2 bussers and the manager - all apparently unconcerned with our requests or our level of dissatisfaction.

                                        We started with the chorizo stuffed, deep-fried olives - my personal favorite from Table 8's lounge menu of snacks. I used to refer to them as "deep-fried balls of porky love." I can no longer think of them the same way. They arrived with an odd odor reminiscent of a school cafeteria, it was as if they have been fried in old oil that had fried one olive too many. They had none of the delicious, spicy, porky goodness that I remembered and all I ended up with was a mouthful of grease. We ordered our burgers and my friend and I both went with variations on the 8 oz. burger, figuring that the house specialty was the way to go. They came out quickly, which was fantastic and I began to have a little hope that our experience would turn around. Alas, my burger - with bel paese, bacon and a side of fried green tomatoes was flavorless and the bun was completely dried out. My friend had been very specific when ordering his burger (with sharp cheddar and bacon) that he did not want mayo on it - well, it came covered in mayo. We sent it back (with another server, because ours was once again, MIA) and it returned to the table in a very speedy fashion. I commented on this, trying to point out the positive side to my friend.. who took the bun off and said, "That's because it's the same burger, they just scraped off the mayo and gave me a new bun." Apparently, he had cut into the meat to see if it was properly cooked and recognized the knife mark. They also gave him back his dirty knife.

                                        At this point, we finished our beer (from the fabulous beer list that our server had absolutely no knowledge of), paid the bill and left. My friend's comment as we left... "It's a good thing I like you." I apologized profusely and promised to let him pick our next restaurant... which I must admit, not only hurt my foodie pride, but also struck a bit of fear in my heart as he has a penchant for long drives to questionable dining spots in shady neighborhoods with not always delicious results.

                                        I won't return to 8 Oz. - and as much as I heart Govind Armstrong (or used to) and previously had several fabulous experiences at Table 8, I doubt I'll be visiting their new space either.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: wendysland

                                          It's funny I went to get a carwash on Melrose today and ended up here. Went with a frined and don't think I'll go back. Why? Lets see, maybe it was the fact that a little cup of hot sauce is $1. HOT SAUCE. Or maybe that the onion ring side for $4 I ordered was maybe 6 onion rings. The bun itself was brittle, didn't last the whole burger either.

                                          What do they think that hot sauce is special?

                                          1. re: wendysland

                                            Words cannot describe how utterly disappointed I felt at 8 oz.

                                            Everyone's touched upon the letdown of the burger, but the service is pretty poor too. It's as though Govind decided to fill the place with semi-attractive girls, instead of say, veteran servers who knew what they were doing.

                                            1. re: wendysland

                                              We had a very disappointing experience at 8 oz. We will definitely not be going back ever. The only thing worth eating on our three top was my trio of sliders. They do a lamb, boar and beef slider that comes with a trio of beers. I don't drink beer, and they refused to bring me any other beverage with the sliders. The sliders were awesome. They should be part of the regular menu, or make them full size. And they should be a lot less rigid. AND: they should improve on the way they serve their full size burgers. They should NOT come with all the condiments ON when they get to the table which (they should come with slices of tomatoe and generous leaves of lettuce) made the buns very soggy. It was all around a huge disappointment.

                                              1. re: lotta_cox

                                                When you say they refused to bring you any other beverage with the sliders was the sliders and beer some sort of package deal they were offering? If the beer came with the sliders could you or someone else at the table have ordered a coke for instance? Would they have brought that, (and of course charged you for it)? Just trying to understand the issue a little better.

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  Yes, the sliders were part of a package deal. Three sliders and three short beer pours. It didn't occur to me to ask for a soda for someone as we were all drinking martinis, but I suppose I could have. I certainly didn't press the issue. And to give credit where credit is due, the sliders were awesome. I would eat them again right now.