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The Golden State on Fairfax

After an excruciating wait, this much anticipated space finally had their Grand Opening yesterday. Looking forward to the early reports. Anyone?

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  1. I went last night and it was great, especially the well-selected beer list (and the beer prices!!--$5 for a 16 oz pour of craftsman 1903 is pretty damn hard to find in my neck of the woods). I had the muffuletta and the sweet potato wedges which were both solid. Really, to get that and two beers for $20 is a pretty fantastic deal. I can't wait to go back and try to burger...

    14 Replies
    1. re: mollyomormon

      I saw it mentioned that they were going to be serving Scoops ice cream. Did you happen to notice/try any? I'm just curious what sort of flavors they'll have and if they'll be doing a direct transport every day, keeping the offerings as varied as they are in the shop. I guess I'd just love to be able to get Scoops a little closer to me...

      1. re: hyacinthgirl

        Yes! They have a full case of Scoops right where you order, although not as many choices as at the full Scoops. They had brown bread last night and I think 5 other flavors, including chocolate Green Flash IPA, which I didn't get to try because I was too full. Can't recall the others. I know they're in close contact with Tai, so I imagine they'll be getting varied offerings depending on what Tai is making. So cool to be able to get both Scoops and Let's be Frank Dogs in the same place and not to have to drive all the way to Silver Lake for Scoops! Yay!

        1. re: mollyomormon

          Ohhh! Brown Bread, closer!! That's the happiest news of the day. Thank you, you made my Monday.

          1. re: hyacinthgirl

            can i get an address? a google search will probably send me the way of the golden state freeway or a calif. civic booster website.


            1. re: kevin

              Golden State Café
              426 N Fairfax Ave
              Los Angeles, CA 90036
              (323) 782-8331

              1. re: wilafur

                sweet thanks, actually it showed up on a daily candy link, and then a link to a website and menu.

                suffice to day, if i'm not mistaken there's nothing on the website right now besides the contact info, and their logo.


                1. re: kevin

                  This link does show the menu:


                  1. re: nitaj

                    Yes BUT, having just been I can tell you that the preliminary menu posted on that link is only about 80% accurate. There are several things on there that they did not actually end up carrying, and several missing that they did. And of course there are no prices on this one.

                    So stay tuned, they've only been open 6 days. The full website will obviously be online soon.

                2. re: wilafur

                  oh, and it seems like it's within a block or so of Animal, seems like the area is starting a min-restaurant renaissance.

                  1. re: kevin

                    it's directly across the street from Animal. and yes, they do have the allagash curieux on tap!!!

            2. re: mollyomormon

              Scoops moved from East Hollywood to Silver Lake? When did this happen?

              1. re: Normal Garciaparra

                It's still in the same location. I'm sure that neighborhood is technically East Hollywood, I'm just not sure the exact border between the two neighborhoods.

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    The 90029 can include Silver Lake (I certainly see Malo included as a Silver Lake restaurant which is in the 29) so you can feel fine about putting it there.

          2. The restaurant was packed last night. It’s an order-at-the-counter-and-grab-a-table kind of place, whose menu is geared around burgers, sandwiches, sausages and dogs (from Let’s Be Frank). They also offer some excellent beers, courtesy of beer aficionado Jason Bernstein and ice cream from Scoops. Those last two forces can even be combined, as they offer beer floats.

            I was able to get my hands on their tasty burger (served with arugula and brown sugar glazed bacon), a surprisingly mellow jalapeño cole slaw, a flavorful version of a muffaletta, a refreshing Persian cucumber salad with shahi and lemon, and some very tender fried sweet potato wedges, all washed down nicely with a pint of Racer 5.

            It was just day 1 at Golden State, but if it’s any kind of precedent, they’re gonna be busy.


            7 Replies
            1. re: noahbites

              Hi noah,

              Thanks for the info. I'm jealous! :) And it's good to hear some of the Man Bites World crew was there on the first day. I can't wait to try the famous burger soon.

              1. re: exilekiss

                i didn't know they had let's be frank spicy dogs, now i really gotta try it. is it open late until 12midnight or so????

                anyone have a clue? thanks.

                1. re: kevin

                  i suggest you let your fingers do the walking.

                  give them a call.

                  1. re: wilafur

                    But please reply back, as I was just wondering that myself.

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          Thanks! I am hitting up Animal tomorrow night (1st time, and I'm PUMPED!), and may catch a flick at the Grove later; then it might be the perfect time to hit up Golden State on the way home.

            2. Was there last night - really hectic and full house (had to stalk tables Father's Office style). The burger was one level rarer than I ordered (more along medium-rare/medium rather than medium-well) but was tasty with the spinach and bacon. My +1 liked his Let's Be Frank sausage sandwich too. And of course, hard to go wrong with Scoops ice cream (both the pear-sauvignon blanc and Kahlua-caramel we had were great!)

              Only thing that needed work was sweet potato fries, which were mushy (might need to be breaded since sweet potatoes aren't that starchy).

              And yes, a nicely-chosen selection of beers and wines. Had the Allagash Curieux from Maine, can't wait to try the others...


              3 Replies
              1. re: AquaW

                oh, holly crap, did you happen to have ALLILGASH CURIUEX on tap, the one made in the old Jim Bean Barrels???? i'm so there.

                thanks for the heads up.

                1. re: kevin

                  Beer AFTER 5 pm due to their proximity to Fairfax High School!

                  The Golden State
                  426 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036

                  1. re: kevin

                    Yep! That one -- was a bit harsh and overpowering when paired for the food, but a fine beer on its own.

                    Hope you enjoy!

                    my Golden State blogpost: http://la-oc-foodie.blogspot.com/2009...

                2. This isn't really a review as I never got around to ordering or eating there. I went in this eve and waited in line to order. It is a very loud room - exposed brick walls on one side, white wall on the other. In front of me was a couple with two small loud climbing children. The room was a about half full and it is two rows of small tables, very close to each other. It looked like I had three bad options - either slide my ass across someone else's table to have a seat, pull the table away to wedge my self in, or sit with my back to the room. As I was waiting in line I was watching the food coming out, everything looked good but the burgers did look small. The children in front of me continued to climb on their parents and make loud child noises. Then a big bunch of people came in behind me, maybe a total of 8 or 10 and they divided themselves between the open tables and the order line. It dawned on me that I should have somehow claimed a table before getting in line, perhaps put my jacket on a chair or something. Id have no choice but to wedge myself into a table next to the children, so I left. I'll give it another shot soon.

                  1. I went today for lunch about 1:30pm or so. Placed a to-go order and was in and out in about 10 mins. I had the grilled vegetable sandwich and the jalapeno coleslaw. The sandwich was good and a very generous size and the slaw was yummy too. Could only finish half the sandwich but that might have been because I ate my scoop each of brown bread and salty caramel on the way home. I will definetly be back to try the other offerings and also to get my brown bread fix without the drive to Silverlake from the westside.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nitaj

                      Again with the Scoops in Silverlake? What gives?

                      They're in East Hollywood, behind LA City College.

                      Mr Taster

                    2. I've been twice already and was happy with both experiences.

                      First time: I had a regular hot dog topped with peppers and onions, ketchup, and mustard. Potato salad on the side. I had never tried a Lets Be Frank dog before, but really enjoyed it-- had a nice flavor and great snap to it. Washed it down with a Craftsmen Hef. Good combo. Boyfriend had the Brat with cole slaw. It was good, but I liked my choice more :) We ordered a root beer float with brown bread gelato for dessert. That was a definite highlight!

                      Second time: My bf and I both got the burger which was FANTASTIC. Cooked to perfection (medium rare) and served on a really great bun. I had reg. fries, he had the sweet potato wedges. Both deelish. This time I had the Allagash which might be my new favorite beer :)

                      Adding to the experience, the woman at the counter (blond girl) is absolutely adorable and super sweet...for all you single men out there! :)

                      We'll definitely be back. The only problem is the wait. If you go with friends, have one of them grab a table while you order. Then switch!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KaceyLaine

                        She's NOT single...In fact she's married to the owner! haha

                      2. i went today and got lunch to go. i am SO HAPPY about having Scoops gelato so close by! I had the grilled veggie sandwich and the sweet potato wedges. I really liked it, but i wish there were more veggie options. i rarely eat meat but for my next hamburger craving, i'll have it at this place. oh did i mention how amazing it is that they have Scoops? the service is really slow, but extremely friendly.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Clyde

                          Just a technical note... don't let the homemade bins fool you. Scoops is not in any way gelato, which is made by a very different process than ice cream (which is what Scoops actually is). Gelato is this wonderously, impossibly dense and creamy concoction, made with milk and not cream. It manages this trick with less fat because only a minimal amount of air is whipped in to it.

                          For a real taste of gelato, try the pistacio at Bulgarini.

                          Mr Taster

                          Bulgarini Gelato
                          749 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

                        2. I really enjoyed this place. It was packed, but then again it was a Saturday night. I ordered the burger and it was perfect. I tend to like a burger that is soft and melts in your mouth. It is served on a buttery brioche bun. The root beer was good. The fries were good. Nice selection of beer. Scoops ice cream was great. Good Prices very nice service. I would recommend this place as a nice place for a casual bite and drink.

                          1. For you beer lovers, they just got Alesmith Grand Cru on tap...

                            1. this may sound like an awkward thing to highlight - but thay have incredible cole slaw. srsly.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: three_eyed_fish

                                haha, I was just going to post that. Jalapeno cole slaw, for interested parties, simple and similar to asian style slaw with a bit of bite.

                              2. went for dinner last night and lunch today and, well, let's be frank : the hot dogs and burgers and beer are good, not the best. for the area, if you want good, inventive food for dinner, cross the street to animal. if you want a late night hipster hang out with the basics, go to golden state. i'll go back for a 'dog and those sweet potato wedges and that persian cucumber salad and some of their tasty, tasty brown bread gelato, but a place like this in ny or chicago or sf would step up the quality and service (and french fries!) quick in order to be a real hit.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: tablefor1

                                  I gave it another go and while the service was better, the food is what it is and probably will be for the foreseeable future. It's my new neighborhood diner. Sure beats Canter's, Swinger's and most of the places at the Farmer's Market, especially with the persian cucumber salad: Refreshing!

                                2. I finally gave Golden State a try today. Disappointing, not really my kind of burger, or place. Its a very loud room, even when near empty. I had the cheeseburger, ordered medium rare and since it came with a side, fries. It was served with a small side ramekin of romesco sauce. It was ok, a bit bland and did nothing for me, the burger or the fries. The burger is a bit smallish in diameter but not too thin. I don't like the bun at all. The bun came cold, it may have been toasted a bit. I didn't look, but I think it was toasted a bit, but it was def. cold and crumbled as I ate. The meat was cooked very rare even though I ordered medium rare. I don't recall what the greens were, maybe arugula, but they were skimpy and didn't do anything good for the burger. The cheese was melted, but not all the way so it had a grainy texture. Over all it wasn't too good. Not at all awful, but no way worth 10 bucks. The fries were ok. just ok. The fries were on the mealy side instead of fluffy inside and the exterior wasn't quite golden or crisp enough for my taste. I tried the curry ketsup which I didn't care for either. It is missing some tang or brightness. As I was leaving the woman working the counter asked me how every thing was and I told her it was a bit disappointing and that I didn't much care for the burger. She seemed a bit surprised and asked why and I told her. She said "Wow, I've never heard that before".
                                  Oh well. There is something odd about burger/casual places that list the origin of all the ingredients ie: Harris Ranch Beef. Whatever.Usually leads up to a let down. I'll head back to Umami.

                                  21 Replies
                                  1. re: rednyellow

                                    LOL....They are actually proud and want to announce that they serve Harris Ranch beef?! Nasty, have you ever driven through Coalinga and seen how they house their animals? It is quite rank!

                                    I still bought Harris Ranch at Huntington Meat...was I proud of it? No.

                                    1. re: love2eat

                                      That isn't the Harris Ranch in Coalinga, its a feedlot.
                                      Feedlots are where cattle are fattened up just prior to going to slaughter.

                                      1. re: monku

                                        They are still Harris Ranch cattle, no?

                                        1. re: love2eat

                                          Yes and no.

                                          Coalinga Feed Yard in conjunction with the Harris Ranch Feeding Company.

                                          Again its a feedlot and not a ranch where cattle are raised.

                                          1/3 of the US supermarket beef is finished on feedlots like that in Coalinga (700 acres with up to 120,000 head of cattle) of which some is Harris Ranch cattle and 80%-85% from other California ranches . Cattle may spend 110-150 days on a feedlot where they're fed grain and protein (some say also steroids) where they'll come in weighing 800lbs and leave for slaughter weighing around 1250 lbs. Then get slaughtered at a Harris facility. Grass fed beef never go to a feedlot.

                                          Niman's natural beef is an alliance of 50 cattle producers sending their cattle to a feedlot in Idaho.

                                          1. re: love2eat

                                            "Feedlot" sounds like the perfect vacation spot.

                                      2. re: rednyellow

                                        The thinking behind listing the origin or their ingredients is that the place is called the Golden State and they attempt to source whatever they can locally and offer it an affordable price.

                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                          I understand the thinking, but to bother listing all that stuff and then turn our a mediocre product seems silly.

                                          1. re: rednyellow

                                            I think it's fantastic to know what you're eating/drink. And I totally disagree with your review as well. The burger is a really nice size, I don't need to stuff myself with an over sized burger especially with so many fantastic beers to sample. $10 for their burger with any side is a great deal IMO. Nice photo btw

                                            1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                                              I guess that's why there is a choice of restaurants out there. I really don't care where the ingredients come from, just how well they are prepared. Compared to other "upscale" burgers in the area, $10 seems a bit much for the size and over all mediocrity. I seldom drink beer, so their selection isn't much of a selling point for me.

                                              1. re: rednyellow

                                                But some people do care about that sort of thing, as I'm sure you realize. It is a selling point to me to be able to get good ingredients that are sourced locally for a number of reasons. If it's also at a fair price, like the Golden State offers, all the better. If you do ever want to drink beer, the prices on the beer there are absolutely incredible. If you're not much of a beer drinker, though, I can see how it might not be your thing.

                                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                                  Sure some people do care. I don't care, and it's my review. Lots of people care about things that I dont.

                                                  1. re: rednyellow

                                                    It is your review, but to call it silly seemed like less of a review of the place and more of an attack.

                                                      1. re: mollyomormon

                                                        I thought I was extremely reserved, polite even, considering they got my $10.

                                                  2. re: rednyellow

                                                    You lost me at "I seldom drink beer."

                                                    Plus their $10 "overpriced and mediocre" burger includes tax and there's no need to tip.

                                                    Sorry, I still totally disagree with your POV. Oh well

                                                    I totally agree with molly too. I do care about the ingredients and as a California native, I especially appreciate Golden State keeping it local.

                                                    1. re: ronnie_gaucho

                                                      I'm So. Cal native also, 5th generation actually. When I'm shopping at somewhere like Whole Foods and they list where stuff is from, I do pay attention to it and it may affect my buying decision. At a restaurant, not so much. I'm more concerned with what the chef is delivering, not what he's starting out with .

                                                      1. re: rednyellow

                                                        Like you said, to each his own. They have Allagash Curieux on tap for $9 for a 10 oz. pour. Considering this stuff is $17 a bottle at retail (and $28 a bottle a FO), it's a pretty sweet deal.

                                                        1. re: mollyomormon

                                                          Is Alagash Curieux a Belgian or belgian style beer? I like those. When I do drink beer, I like Pirat, Duval, Delerium Tremmens, those types.

                                                          1. re: rednyellow

                                                            Allagash Curieux is a Belgian-style tripel from Allagash Brewing Company in Maine. It is also bourbon-barrel aged, fairly expensive and worth it!

                                                            1. re: sel

                                                              interestingly enough, it's the only item on the menu that's not locally sourced.

                                                          2. re: mollyomormon

                                                            although if you go get a bottle of that's more than two 10oz pours.

                                            2. as a former bay area resident, it's so awesome to have a reasonably priced place in LA where the owners really care about beer and food selections.

                                              went for the first time last night. wanted to start off with something light before starting my meal, so i ordered a craftsman hefe, instead they recommended that i get a belgian style ale by craftsman called la luz. it was a perfect early warm spring evening beer.

                                              ordered the racer 5 IPA and burger w/ fries. burger comes on a rockenwagner bun (SM farmer's mkt/bakery, venice restaurant) with a nice egg white wash, which is nice--the bun won't break even though it stacks up high. medium rare cooked to perfection w/ some greens, cheese, and bacon. no extra condiments needed. i highly recommend eating the french fries with the curry ketchup. sweet, tangy, and perfect.

                                              looking forward to going back and eating some hotdogs. great relaxed atmosphere. new favorite in the neighborhood. can't beat the food and choices for the price point in this area.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: scuzm

                                                forgot to add that i had SCOOPS for dessert. a friend had ruby red grapefruit sorbet and i had a mascarpone and something...forget right now. they were stocking brown bread, and i asked the guy behind the counter and he said that tai (owner of SCOOPS) comes by twice a day, once in the morning to drop off the SCOOPS and once at night to collect. they get new flavors every day.

                                                1. re: scuzm

                                                  Oh that's intereseting. I asked when I went there and they said they only got fresh product a few times a week, "as needed."

                                                2. re: scuzm

                                                  went last night. still packed around 10 PM. peeps watching the dodgers/giants game on the wall mounted HD screen.

                                                  had the regular dog. grilled on grates. nice char (enough to give it some marks). good snap. soft bun, that seemed to be warmed as well, but not toasted. you get your choice of two toppings, i chose grilled onions and sauerkraut--i think there is relish, muffaletta tapenade, red peppers, etc, but i'm a grilled onions and sauekraut kind of guy. + one side. i got the persian cucumber salad, which was light fresh and spring-y.

                                                  washed it down w/ a horny devil, a belgian style ale from alesmith in san diego. great combo.

                                                3. I'm curious to try this place, and me and some college friends get together once a month for dinner/drinks... would this place work for a group of 6-8?

                                                  8 Replies
                                                  1. re: mdpilam

                                                    Sure. It's a pretty tiny space but most of the tables move around to create different sizes. And there's one big one in the window that seats 6-8. Not positive, but I imagine if you called ahead they'd reserve that for you. Otherwise, the seating policy is generally hawk & stalk.

                                                    1. re: mdpilam

                                                      the group watching the giants/dodgers game was about 14-18 people, i'd say. they had all the tables against the wall pushed together to accomodate.

                                                      you could easily squeeze 6 in the booths by the window. maybe 8.

                                                      but as the other guy said, you could push table together, etc. to get your party seated. there's space for it. just a question of how packed it is.

                                                      i give it a thumbs up. you should check it out w/ your friends.

                                                      1. re: scuzm

                                                        it is a tiny joint, maybe 24 seats tops. there is no bar to sit at to drink your beers if you happen to care for that sort of thing.

                                                        which begs a question, is it a restaurant or bar? what do you guys say. I only tried the hot dog as far as food, and was not that impressed. but the curated beer selection is really great.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          It's clearly a restaurant. No matter how well curated their little beer selection is, I wouldn't be overly comfortable taking up one of their very few tables for very long if I wasn't also ordering food. I'm not saying you couldn't, I'm just saying that a bar is a place where one can be comfortable ordering just beverages and sitting for hours, without feeling like other customers are waiting for you to leave so they can have your seat and order their food.

                                                          If that's not a strong enough argument for anyone, I'd submit that the ice cream case displayed so prominently up front ends the debate.

                                                          1. re: wutzizname

                                                            yes, you are right, the ice cream seals the deal.

                                                            1. re: wutzizname

                                                              it's certainly a restaurant and not a bar, but it's not like it has waiters or anything. it seems to have more of a coffee shop vibe where you could hang out there forever and as long as you were nibbling on a cookie and had a cup of coffee on your table, no worries.

                                                              it's not like you're keeping wait staff from getting tips.

                                                              i would feel more than comfortable drinking beer for an hour or two here, then ordering food, and then drinking more and hanging out after i was finished eating.

                                                              i would also feel fine showing up, getting beer and no food, and then leaving. this place is super laid back.

                                                              1. re: scuzm

                                                                All true, except at peak times when there are no seats available and a dozen people are lurking and competing for the next available spot. I've been that lurking person on several occasions an it's not fun. Golden State needs to implement some kind of organized seating process when the place fills up. How about a sign-in sheet so you can at least wait your turn on the sidewalk instead of standing over the other diners while they eat? Unlike Father's Office and other hawk-a-table spots, Golden State doesn't even have a bar to stand by, so it's a very uncomfortable scene when it's busy.

                                                                1. re: wutzizname

                                                                  the thing that says it's not a bar. is a lack of bar seating. therein lies the rub.

                                                      2. cute place, but strangely, most of it is dedicated to open kitchen, with just a tiny space for customers. the salads were delicious, both the persian cuc and the coleslaw. my friend loved her burger, but i gotta be honest, the chicken sandwich was blech. tasted like they used a prefab salt injected bird like the kind you get at mcdonalds--there was little flavor and the texture was spongey. however if i was a gay man, i'd hightail it over to golden state right now. the place was crawling with cute boy lovin' boys, so if you are looking for love, you might just find it here.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jrnlmkr

                                                          Agree that the chicken sandwich is one of their weakest items. And word on the street is that they may expand into one of the adjascent spaces sooner than later, thus reducing the kitchen's dominance.

                                                          Have to say though, on my 10 or 12 visits, I haven't noticed any particularly gay contingent. But maybe we see what we want to.

                                                          1. re: jrnlmkr

                                                            hmmmm, I walk past almost every day and never even blip on my gaydar.