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Patty Melt The Best ?

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  • WSB Feb 4, 2009 10:28 AM
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Who has the best patty melt in the L.A. area ?

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  1. Hey, I'm working on it, but I need some help here. Probably from someone who is neither old nor fat, unlike Your Correspondent...

    So far the best in the area has been Pann's, though theirs is such a monster - 3/4 lb. of beefy goodness - you might want to figure on making two lunches out of it. Harry's in Burbank (San Fernando 1/2 block N. from Burbank Blvd.) is quite good, and not expensive. Pie'N'Burger's version has been extolled by the likes of J. Gold, but my one stab at it was frankly pathetic; coulda been a bad day, so I'll try again. My overall favorite was actually out of the area, at the Busy Bee Cafe in Ventura, but if you're up there you might check them out.

    I'll be watching this for other recommendations...

    1. Patty melts may be the hardest to find thing on any greasy spoon's menu. Personally, I dig Rick's in Alhambra. I grew up on the stuff, so I may be biased. The menu is so-so generally, but the patty melts are a real winner. Not sure about the other Ricks locations in Whittier or Silver Lake.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ohdaylay

        By "Silver Lake", are you referring to the one at Riverside and Fletcher? Seems to me that place was spoken of recently in a positive sort of way, and the PM may have been mentioned. Gotta go look...

        1. re: Will Owen

          That's the one. Not sure if it's all the way in Silver Lake, but you got the picture. I actually live pretty close to that one and eat there often. Try the chili fries.

      2. Rick's in Pasadena on Walnut - I think they call it the "French Bread Cheese" or something similar. Pretty good. Couple of versions - more - less patty. Pining away for the patty melt at the Great Grill in Burbank, pretty sure it's gone.

        1. Upscale version. Boneyard Bistro. Just had it tonight. Its got bacon and a couple cheeses. 3 dipping sauces, 1000 island, chipotle, and cilantro/jalpeno I think. Massive amount of good shoe strings. It'll set you back $20. Not greasy spoon pricing either. But its worth it. And you can pair it with a really good beer off of BB's list.
          Guy that runs BB is hustling hard. Just 3 tables occupied tonight.

          1 Reply
          1. re: fishyak

            I second this recommendation. Boneyard Bistro's Patty Melt is fantastic.

            Boneyard Bistro
            13539 Ventura Blvd.
            Sherman Oaks

          2. The Hamlet in Pasadena.

            A close runner-up is Four N 20.

            2 Replies
            1. re: ipsedixit

              Oh! Four N 20! I've been wracking what's left of my brain trying to remember that name (Blackbird's? No...). Yes, gotta try that. And somehow I've managed to overlook the Hamlet's PM. Thanks, ipse...

              1. re: Will Owen

                hamlet's patty melt is the best i have had, greasy, cheesey, caramelized oniony goodness.

            2. Jan's on Beverly blvd, comes with coleslaw and either french fries and onion rings.

              1. Patty Melt, n., Old School member of the Burger family, “patty” meaning two ¼ pound charbroiled burger patties, and “melt” meaning two slices of orange cheese (American or cheddar) melted on two slices of griddled oval shaped rye bread, served with grilled onion. The flavor and texture is a combination of toasted rye bread , greasy-chary burger, melted cheese, grilled onion and a little salt added to the burgers during grilling. There are two reasons for two ¼ lb. patties. First, two ¼ lb. parties have twice the surface area as one ½ lb. patty and therefore twice the coveted greasy-chary flavor. Second, two patties allow for a slightly off-centered stacking of the patties thus filling the otherwise empty area at the two ends of the oval shaped sandwich. Note, the two slices of cheese are also placed off-center of, and at opposite ends of, the two slices of rye bread while they are toasting on the griddle. When assembled along with the grilled onion the oval shaped sandwich will have one layer of burger and cheese at each end and the middle will have a double thickness of burger and cheese. Any deviation is not a “Patty Melt.” For example, the use of sourdough bread makes the sandwich a “Grilled Cheese Burger.”

                I get my Old School Patty Melt at Jim’s on Duarte in Arcadia -- Classic Perfection. Also, get a bowl of Jim’s great chili to-go w/ onions on-the-side. Add this chili to your home grilled Nathan’s natural casing dogs or just eat it with your Fritos scoops.
                Jim's Famous Quarterpound Burger (Old School Patty Melt, chili, Special quesadilla -- not on menu but request pastrami)
                915 W Duarte Rd
                Arcadia, CA 91007
                (626) 447-5993

                27 Replies
                1. re: JeetJet

                  Now, that's interesting. I've had so-called Patty Melts that had the cheese INSIDE the patty, and quite a few with cheese on both sides of the patty, but never one with two patties. All the PMs I've tried in the LA area employ a single half-pound patty, except for Pann's mad-monster 3/4 pounder.

                  I think you're being rather over-pedantic here, insisting that the sandwich must be called a "Grilled Cheese Burger" if it's served on sourdough. Some of that may come from the fact that I simply do not care for grilled rye bread at all, whereas grilled sourdough is to me the apotheosis of bread and butter, the highest form to which this substance can aspire. With cheese alone it's a rare treat; with a burger patty - or two, if you will - it achieves gustatory perfection.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    Second your rejection of "Grilled Cheese Burger" penalty for use of sourdough - some of us just don't like rye. And heavens, I've ordered PMs without grilled onions. But you gotta have parmesan sprinkled on the sourdough just before it's served. And a lot of ketchup on the side.

                    1. re: swimfin

                      A "Patty Melt" with No rye, No grilled onion, but parmesan sprinkled on the sourdough -- you are being facetious, Right? I mean cold pastrami meat on white with mayo is not a "Pastrami." Same here -- Right?

                      Jim's s the real deal -- Right?

                      1. re: JeetJet

                        If it's not a pastrami, what the hell is it? Not a GOOD pastrami, for sure, but it is clearly a pastrami sandwich.

                        I'd never want parm sprinkled on my PM, and no ketchup under ANY circumstances (preferably not even in the same room!), but none of that necessarily renders the sandwich a non-pattymelt, which in my lexicon means simply a burger surrounded by cheese, preferably with grilled onions, and served on grilled bread. As I've mentioned already, I have never encountered a two-patty patty melt, and I've had them in at least six different places in SoCal alone.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          This really blows me away because now I wonder how many times I read something here and although we all use the same name we don’t always mean the same thing. When I say “Patty Melt” I mean a burger sandwich arranged with specific items in a specific way. Likewise, a “Reuben” has grilled rye, corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. If you order a specific kind of sandwich you should expect a specific result. I understand some customers have a preference and may request changes but to request a “Big Mac” with a single ½ lb. patty, no Mac Sauce -- ketchup , no lettuce -- sauerkraut, no American cheese – Swiss, is NOT to request a Big Mac and if McD ever serve such a thing when a customer asked for a Big Mac they would make world news for selling Fusion cuisine.

                          It is sad when a good guy has requested a patty melt at six places in SoCal yet never encountered a two-patty "patty melt." I recall when a new suit came with two pair of pants and all patty melts had two beef patties. Time has come for a revolution!

                          “Patty Melt The Best” – to get what you ask for -- go to Jim’s.

                          Fusion, -- that is another thread.

                          1. re: JeetJet

                            To me, this is what I mean and what I expect when I order a "patty melt"

                            Patty melt = cheese burger on rye bread (instead of hamburger bun)

                            If the patty melt came with two patties, then I figure I would've just received a double cheese burger on rye bread.

                            And, by the way, while being no expert on patty melts, I have yet to encounter one with two patties. I'd almost think that it would be worse in a 2-fisted style, as part of the appeal of a patty melt is the sort of soft-gooey texture of the cheese and patty contrasted with the slightly crunch of the bread. Going double on the meat would ruin that ratio.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Must have onions too.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                "And, by the way, while being no expert on patty melts, I have yet to encounter one with two patties."

                                Something just occurred to me: I'm willing to bet that the two-patty pattymelt came about because the establishment was using preformed (in house or otherwise), standard-size quarter-pound patties, of which you need two to make a half-pounder. Those restaurants that weighed out and hand-formed their meat were under no such constraints, and so could easily make a single half-pound (or three-quarter pound!) patty, which strikes me as a much less cumbersome solution both to cook and to consume. I'm wondering if what Brother JeetJet is saying is tantamount to complaining that your made-from-fresh margarita can't be a REAL margarita because it's not a brilliant unknown-in-nature shade of green.

                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  will since you you haven'[t tired the pattymelt at Hamburger Hamlet yet, that's where you should start, of course, since you haven't had it there already and you are somewhat of an HH fancier. it is the ne plus ultra.

                                  supposedly i hard the long gone Tiny Naylor's made a great one, and Jennifer Naylor the old chef of the now defunct, Wolfgang Puck beach side restaurant Granita used to make one on occasion for sunday brunch service.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    Jennifer Naylor is, of course, the engineer of the patty melt at the current DuPar's, and it ain't bad.

                              2. re: JeetJet

                                jeet, we do both like good food, and arterary clogging food, but i don't think it has to be a double-patty.
                                but it can't be a single patty a la in n out, and most other fast food burger shacks, it has to be a thick patty or else they you are correct it would be two 1/4 pound patties. damnit, i can barely eat red meat, and artery clogging foods that often anymore but i am sorely tempted.

                            2. re: JeetJet

                              to me you need rye bread, grilled, that is a given for a patty melt, and there must be grilled onion or possibly slightly caramelized onions, and at least couple slices either of cheddar or american, no mayo, no mustard, no chipotle sauce, no gruyere, no bleu cheese or rahter blue cheese, no horseradish cream.

                              1. re: kevin

                                Kevin, you are a purist and you write with the authority of a deity, “There shall be “no mayo, no mustard, no chipotle sauce, no gruyere, no bleu cheese or rahter blue cheese, no horseradish cream,” Neither shall you spread anything, or any condiment of any kind, whatsoever, upon thy Patty Melt.

                                You inspire me…

                                What is in a name?
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/593891

                                1. re: JeetJet

                                  also, patty melts must be served in a diner or coffee shop restaurant. no hoity toity haute cuisine, sorry, boneyard bistro, you may be delicious but $20 dollars plus tax tip and drinks just does not cut it for a patty melt, especially with it's newfangled sauces and cheeses.

                                  Patty Melt is comfort food, pure and simple. When those days, you knows those days, happen to occur, PATTY MELTS are the only fix, the original, pure, no substitutions, no gussying up.

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    “When those days, you knows those days, happen to occur, PATTY MELTS are the only fix, the original, pure, no substitutions, no gussying up.” You just hit the nail on the head Kevin. On those days, “Comfort food required days” it is a must to have something that warms you over and makes you feel secure, “Everything is going to be OK. Some things never change -- tradition.” On those days you order yourself a “Patty Melt.” OH SHIT, What the HELL is this? Only ONE Patty?

                                    Decades ago, when I was a kid, my teacher always had Monday Share Day. We kids would tell the class what we did over the weekend. That teacher was a Chowhound and had a degree in Home Economics – she was a real cook. I knew how to win her heart. When I told the class that my Dad bought me a Patty Melt and chocolate shake (with the extra amount in the steel mixing cup – ah, tradition) at the counter of a café, my teacher got all excited. She told the class everything about Patty Melts and why they MUST have two off-set patties to fill the ends of the bread, “otherwise you would just be eating rye,” (which I re-told in my definition of Patty Melt above). On another day I told about the “Open-Face Roast Beef w/ mash smothered w/ gravy,” I had, she got all excited again, but that is another story. The point is comfort food should comfort you, not give you a friggin heart attack (well, if a Patty Melt gives you a heart attack it should be for the proper reasons and NOT for the wrong reason). Therefore, that is what makes me an expert on patty melts and that is why I say Jim’s makes a true, comforting, traditional, original, pure, no gussying up, teacher approved Patty Melt.

                                    1. re: JeetJet

                                      "She told the class everything about Patty Melts and why they MUST have two off-set patties to fill the ends of the bread, 'otherwise you would just be eating rye,' "

                                      At the risk of flogging this dead horse so hard he comes back to life and kills us, I'm going to have to call that a flawed rationale. First of all, anyone who wants to make a patty fit a piece of bread exactly can easily do so, UNLESS he's stuck with press-molded round ones. Of course, then you're stuck with the humped-up part in the middle where they overlap, which I frankly would find more annoying than any expanse of unoccupied bread. I'm sticking with my own theory of how the two-patty thing got started. And with all due respect to that teacher, possessing a degree in Home Ec AND being a Chowhound must be awfully hard to deal with. It's like an atheist going through Divinity School...

                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                        "she got all excited again" , taken out of context this sounds like something for an altoghether different site.

                                        but anyhow on Jim's, is this a fast-food shack or an actual diner.

                                        and i'm digressing but jeetjeet, where do you go for the all important Pastrami Dip topped to the brim on a French roll with only pickles and yellow mustard to gild the lilly (of course, you know i'm not referring to Jewish deli pastrami in rye)????

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          Jim's is a very clean walk-in fast food shack with many tabes and plenty of parking.

                                          I like the Pastrami Double Dip from Tops and never from the Hat. At Tops the meat is lean and tender. The French roll is perfect. The sandwich is big enough for two as is the small deep fried zucchini.

                                          Tops (Pastrami Double Dip, Kobe Bistro Burger, Deep fried zucchini. Also, try the asada totasda)
                                          3838 E Colorado Blvd (Between Rosemead Blvd. And Michillinda)
                                          Pasadena, CA 91107-3940
                                          (626) 449-4412

                                          I like the French Dip from Jolly Jug in El Monte. I get it with gravy on the side but you can ask for a cup of Au jus on the side. The roast beef is very thinly sliced and very tender. The French roll always has a perfectly toasted crust – how do they do that?.

                                          Jolly Jug (French Dip)
                                          4264 Peck Rd
                                          El Monte, CA 91732-2114
                                          (626) 444-8425

                                          What is your place for these sandwiches?

                                          1. re: JeetJet

                                            AY-men! to Jolly Jug. When an Asian family took it over I was afraid it'd lose its character, or maybe the edge on its food, but what they did was clean the place up AND keep those killer sandwiches. One of last year's high points was when the in-laws asked us to take them to an alpaca show down off Valley somewhere, and I timed the trip so we could stop for lunch at JJ. Pops found the alpacas fairly amusing, but he thanked me repeatedly for the introduction to Jolly Jug.

                                2. re: JeetJet

                                  Jeet-
                                  All due respect, but have had many the patty melt (at least that's what the menus said) that were sourdough, one patty, cheese, and onions (my delete), with the sourdough toasted and drenched in butter, and parmesan on the bread. Great Grill in Burbank, Oodle's in Montrose, both long gone. No facetious attempt here, perhaps I didn't know any better, but not sure about your rigid definition - have seen many variations. Also don't do pastrami so can't respond to your example. Live long and prosper -

                                  1. re: swimfin

                                    swimfin, your name makes me think you dive for Bugs. Yeah?

                                    The reason I bave a strong feeling about the rightful name of a sandwich is because bread is the foundation of any sandwich and the quality of the bread makes or breaks the sandwich. Thus changing the type of bread is to change the whole foundation and began building a whole different design from a whole different blueprint. A Pattymelt is built upon rye. Therefore, I have to consider grilled sourdough with cheese a "Grilled Cheese." Add what ever more you wish and that just builds upon the foundation of that sandwich. I have tried one with bacon recently at Nano Cafe in Monrovia and it was really good because of the fresh bread and outstanding bacon but I requested a grilled cheese w/ bacon. I have to say that tsourdough toasted and drenched in butter, and parmesan on the bread sounds really good to me. I wonder who could cook that up properly?

                                    1. re: JeetJet

                                      swimfin name has nothing to do with diving (for me) or bugs (bugs?). Not sure if I should be insulted. Go with your patty melt convictions, best to you.

                                      1. re: swimfin

                                        Never an insult to our swinfin. Bugs is diver slang for "Lobster."

                                        Recipe for "Bugs"
                                        http://www.grouprecipes.com/sr/36654/...

                              2. re: Will Owen

                                Will, I must be older and fater then you because I recall a time when a customer would give a very dirty look to a server who dared to serve a single patty and call it a patty melt. Now, don't get me wrong, yes, a grilled cheese sandwich with a burger patty, or bacon, or bacon burger is great. But this thread is about "Patty Melt The Best" and in any debate we must define the terms of the debate or we might never find a solution to the problem. Now, if you should happen to try a real patty melt, like the traditional classic retro sandwich at Jim's, it might be a good idea to take along a big bottle of Rolaids because that burning feeling is as much a requirement as the two patty rule.

                                1. re: JeetJet

                                  I very much doubt you're older than I, just a longer-term resident of LA County. I'm old enough to remember when the best hamburger I'd ever tasted, a half-pound monster ground from steak in the restaurant (Murphy's Steak House, Bartlesville OK) cost a stunning $1.25. We all just shook our heads and said, "Well, damn...but it's worth it!"

                                  I have no interest whatsoever in locating the patty melt that most closely fits somebody's list of Breed Characteristics, like a judge in a dog show. What I'm looking for is the one that gives me the most pleasure to eat. Period. If Southwest France can have fifteen different "correct" recipes for cassoulet, with partisans practically coming to blows over which one really IS correct, I suppose we can do the same with a sandwich...

                                  1. re: Will Owen

                                    Will, I remember reading a post that you were in the Southbay for your Birthday. In Redondo Beach close to the Pier is a small place named Cozy Cafe. Open Breakfast and Lunch with only small counter seating and possibly a patio out back.. I had a Patty Melt there last year ( I was seeking some comfort food one day ) and fries well done. I liked it allot. Had all the nuances that you describe. Perhaps if your in the area you will try it and let me know of your thoughts. Cris Congac (sp) the food detective wrote up the place and I had to try it. It did not dissapoint..

                                    -----
                                    Cozy Cafe
                                    307 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach, CA 90277

                                    1. re: Foodandwine

                                      Cool! I love Redondo, and I have noticed that place before. Maybe my appraiser will have some more beach-area comps to be shot before too long, though I must say those streets make the Hollywood Hills goat-tracks seem like freeways! But thank you very much.

                            3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patty_melt

                              " bread (traditionally rye, though sourdough, or Texas toast have recently been substituted) "

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: WSB

                                The best patty melt of all time, the Ship Shape at the much-missed Ship's, was in fact made on sourdough instead of rye.

                                1. re: condiment

                                  The way things are shaping up here, it appears that the old, long-gone and -lamented diners were the ones that tended to serve single patties on either sourdough or rye. I don't know how long Pann's has been serving theirs, but they've been in their present location since 1958.

                              2. In addition to the now-famous Boneyard Bistro version, I am partial to the patty melt at Andrew's North Hollywood Diner, fka Sitton's at Tujunga and Magnolia. Strictly old-school, with very good fries.

                                -----
                                Boneyard Bistro
                                13539 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

                                Andrew's North Hollywood Diner (fka Sitton's)
                                11329 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601

                                1. They don't have it every day - but Ed's on Robertson has a pretty good classic, greasy, patty melt. You'll need a coronary after you're done though from all the fatty meat, cheese, and onions.

                                  1. Top's Burgers in Pasadena and Pharos Burgers in Alhambra/San Marino! I love them both!!

                                    I love this topic. I'm always looking for a good Patty Melt!

                                    -----
                                    The Original Tops
                                    3838 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                                    Tops Drive In
                                    1792 E Walnut St, Pasadena, CA 91106

                                    Pharos Burgers
                                    1129 N Garfield Ave, Alhambra, CA

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jaytizzle

                                      Jaytizzle, you gotta ad Lucky Boy in Pasadena to your list. yummm. Also, Ricks in Alhambra is pretty nice, too. But, neither is a two patty version. I've only had two patty versions a couple of times. Most of the places I frequent are single patty jobs.

                                    2. This is an informative and amusing chowhound discussion of the kind I remember from the old days when I lived in the Bay Area. I have nothing to add, except to say that I strongly agree with everyone.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sbritchky

                                        Oh, yeah? You tryin' to start something?

                                        Yup, me too. It's taken me 'way too close to 70 years to learn not to expect everything to be made in exactly the way it was where I lived in third grade, or in high school, or wherever/whenever. I indulge in spates of purism just for the fun of defending the position, like insisting on the TRUE DRY MARTINI (gin, vermouth, 5:1, up) and watching young bartenders get walleyed at the idea of vermouth as an actual ingredient, but if we're out of gin I have poured vodka. What the hell. And if someone insisted on feeding me a two-patty pattymelt on grilled rye, I would make every attempt to enjoy it. Just don't try to make me believe that's the ONLY way to have it; you can say so all day and that's fine, just don't expect me to buy it.

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          I like your style, Will. I agree, variety is the spice of life and one patty or two can do the trick.

                                      2. well, I love patty melts, but if I order one and it came on sourdough I would be (and have been) sorely disappointed. A patty melt is grilled rye bread, grilled onions, hamburger and melty cheese.

                                        Nothing, however, is worse than ordering a patty melt and having it come with lettuce and tomato. That's send-it-back time for sure.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: laliz

                                          Even I, who might be tempted (when at home and using my own ingredients) to sneak a condiment or two in there, find the prospect of RAW VEGETABLES in a patty melt to be beyond appalling. I think you may have found the point at which we all can stand shoulder to shoulder...I'm horrified that anyone might even think of such a thing. Fie!

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            Fie indeed!

                                            LOL

                                          2. re: laliz

                                            There is something worse - when it comes drowning in bar-b-que sauce! *shuddering at the recollection* When the menu mentioned "secret sauce" I was thinking of Thousand Island - not that stuff.

                                          3. I remember having a great pattymelt on Westood Blvd so of Wilshire at a coffee shop called Rob and Marys. It's across from Paris Bakery. Their other burgers are very good also. In Noho there is a diner called Eat. They too have a very good pattymelt. I love their breakfast food also., and one of the best tunamelts around.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: delishdonna

                                              Oh! I have been meaning to try Eat - my principal client is up the street, a block from Porto's - and did not know that they had a PM on the menu. I am so there - thank you!

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                Eat is one of my fav breakfast and lunch places. They make zuccini shreds like hash browns that you can have with your eggs ...mmm delish and no guilt.

                                              2. re: delishdonna

                                                It is Mary and Robb's Westwood Cafe, on the west side of the street north of Ohio. They are definitely still around, and if menupages is to be believed, they serve a patty melt with a side for $9.75. It is listed under "specialty sandwiches" and specifies rye, but also seems to include tomato.

                                                1. re: nosh

                                                  tomatoes? sacre bleu.

                                                  1. re: nosh

                                                    Yes that is the name.....thanks for the correction.Their burgers are outstanding . I like my burgers rare to med. rare and they actually serve it the way it s ordered. The seasoned fries are insane.