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Best Upscale Burger

I know the burger debates in this city have been hot, but with 4th of July right around the corner, I thought this might be the time to re-poke the fire...
My search for this subject yielded a few posts under different topics, but nothing specifically devoted to this one. Still I apologize if I overlooked it..

A recent NY Times article on burgers immediately mentions Comme Ca as a destination burger.
So where do you think the best upscale restaurant burgers are? My working definition of "upscale" will mean burgers that are over $15 and served at a place that is not Only a burger joint. Therefore, I'll exclude places like Unami and 25 Degrees.

So, what do you think? Mortons, Comme Ca, Boa?
Let me know!

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  1. This is easy for me.


    Lunch only.

    Go. Now.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Will go immediately! And by immediately, I mean... this weekend, I hope!

    2. $15-$18 is what a really good midrange-restaurant burger is likely to cost you, and the Redwood on Second has my favorite of those so far, with Second City Bistro in El Segundo a close second. The most expensive of that lot that I've had was the one at Julienne's in San Marino, at $18, but as much as I love that place I do not recommend the burger. Two burgers a block apart in Pasadena, at La Grande Orange and Central Park, are worth eating, though LGO's bun dissolved halfway through the process and the patty, while huge and perfectly cooked, was a bit short on flavor. Central Park's is a bit smaller, but delicious, and under $10 (or was a year ago).

      5 Replies
      1. re: Will Owen

        Related but with a tangential anecdote: I loved, loved the Redwood burger when I was a regular customer in the 80's and 90's. I am glad to hear that it is as self indulgent as ever.

        Do you know that there was (maybe still is) a red phone under the bar that directly connected to the editors' desks (publisher, too?) at the LA Times for delivery of food and libation?

        1. re: Gypsy Jan

          I'm pretty sure that went away with the change of ownership both at the Times and the Redwood.

        2. re: Will Owen

          I agree with Second City Bistro. Fabulous carmelized onions on that burger.

          1. re: jeffandnat

            One of the things I love most is that it's flat-grilled, a process I much prefer to flame grilling when it comes to burgers. First one I got I was on a high stool next to the kitchen area, so I got to watch my own personal burger get grilled and stacked.

            The accompanying salad with candied walnuts is pretty damn special, too. I think if we didn't live in Pasadena, El Segundo would be a seriously good choice. What a sweet little burg.

          2. re: Will Owen

            Will, Based on my burger experience (1 time & similar to yours) at La Grande Orange Pasadena I think you're being far to easy on them in giving a recommendation. My burger was a slimy mess w/ tasteless meat. Besides the flavorless meat the other problem was the bun. The bun was moist throughout from the time it was served (even the crust was slimy) each 1/2 was shmooshed down to about a 1/4 " (served open face). It didn't fall apart but it was a slippery mess. The bottom 1/2 of the bun I wasn't holding onto flopped down like a bloodhound's tongue on a summer's day. Not a deal breaker in itself, but indicative of how the bun just couldn't hold up to the burger. I gave up about halfway thru. A big pet peeve of mine is buns that just don't hold up. Pie 'n Burgers' burgers' fall apart somewhere past the 1/2way point but I'm willing to put up w/ that occasionally (that feature helps me ration my PnB' s burger intake to once or twice a year). The difference is the beef (PnB excellent,LGO tasteless) and PnB isn't a slimy mess from the get go. The interior and location (a block away) of LGO suit me fine, but to me it's not a good value (the food is not good enough compared to the prices, though not expensive). You gotta ask yourself, why does Houston's 1/2 block away do such boomin' business and LGO's resto not so much by a long shot? I think I've just, partially, answered that.

          3. Houstons bacon cheeseburger. Mmmmm.

            1. Definitely not Comme Ca. That one is nothing to write home about even though J Gold did.

              Maybe the burger is better at Boa than their steak. I don't have a favorite yet.

              2 Replies
              1. re: epop

                I felt the same way--the Comme Ca burger was nothing special. Morton's was much better than Comme Ca, but it didn't floor me. Still looking for that perfect upscale burger myself, I guess. :)

                1. re: Nicole

                  I am not sure I have found the perfect burger either, but the thing I like about the Morton's burger is that they always seem to cook it to order correctly: if I order it medium, I get it medium. (I find this true at a number of the other high end steakhouse chains as well.) Does not sound like rocket science, but I am amazed at the number of other places that seem unable to accomplish this basic task.

              2. The best I've had in a long time was from an unlikely place: Clancy's Crab Broiler in Glendale.

                Cooked to order (medium for me), with iceberg lettuce and a cold tomato slice. I don't know why, but I like my tomato slice cold. It tastes fresher and the different temperature sensations really highlight each other.

                1. Not sure on the price - I think under $15, but I love the Southwest Burger @ Granville (Burbank and Glendale). Angus Beef, Roasted Poblano Peppers, Cheddar Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Red Onion, Organic Arugula and Chipotle Aoli. Wow, it's tasty. Add in their homemade Sweet Potato Fries and you're in for some serious good comfort food.

                  1. Try the Surf & Turf burger at 26 Beach I had it over the weekend. A scoop of crab salad on one of ther juicy burgers with melted cheese. Yummy and so tasty too!

                    1. MAX in studio city/sherman oaks is the best i've had

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: radman123

                        Love the Max burger and its sister burgers at BoHo and the Oinkster all created by Andre Guerrero. That man sure does know his burgers. All three different enough to have their own personalities.

                        Also agree with the Comme Ca comments. Don't get all the hype. It's sort of bland to me. I think their fries eclipses the burger.

                        1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                          It's somewhat ironic that you give the Comme Ca burger the big meh at the same time this post is up over on the Food Media News board: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/633079

                      2. On the occassions I indulge:

                        Nook - good burger in WLA

                        Houston's i recall had a good burger

                        Father's Office gets its raves...

                        1. Father's Office is an upscale and delicious burger. I don't recall what the price was.

                          Well, I've never been to the Buffalo Fire Department but if you put out the 15 dollar price minimum, they serve a CHEF’S BURGER that has FOIE GRAS, CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND A FRIED EGG for 18 bucks, I'm not a big foie person (don't hate... maybe I just haven't met the right foie yet), so I wouldn't order that burger. Of course, this place is mainly a burger joint but they like to think of themselves as more than that.

                          Too bad you don't include burger joints because the I'm fairly certain an 18x18 at In and Out would cost you at least $100,018.00. 18 for the burger and the other 100K for the quintuple cardiac bypass.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: DrBruin

                            Office Burger $12

                            Father's Office
                            1018 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                            Father's Office
                            3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034

                            1. re: DrBruin

                              hwere' the buffalo fire dept burger? foie gras burger and i'm so there.

                              and when is animal going to open up for lunch and serve up a foie gras burger???

                              1. re: DrBruin

                                Father's Office is a burger joint. OP was looking for an upscale burger from a place that wasn't just a burger joint.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I respectfully disagree about FO being a burger joint. It's a pub that also serves a great burger, among other items. Burger joints will offer a million options for burgers; FO offers one.

                                  1. re: Ogawak

                                    I agree 100%. Oh, but I am pretty sure the burger is $12 (or close), so it wouldn't fit the OPs price criteria (even though I find that criteria strange - why do you want to pay more for a buger?).

                                    1. re: mdpilam

                                      I think the intention of the $15 price point was not drawn from a desire to pay more, but an attempt to steer this thread away from a discussion of all the more obvious burger oriented establishments (including Father's Office, which is not a Burger Joint but a Gastropub) and toward traditional higher end restaurants (i.e. Comme Ca) where a server comes to your table and takes your order, and where a (usually expensive) burger is just one item on an otherwise upscale dining menu.

                                      With the huge spectrum of burger styles available in Los Angeles, it's always a bit overwhelming to try and discuss which is best on a single thread. So I commend the Original Poster for attempting to narrow the discussion to one subset, but, unfortunately, Chowhounds have proven time and again that they are unable to stick to the parameters of a given thread. So I'm sure the mis-recommendations will soon spiral past Father's Office and on down to the Counter and 25 Degrees, et. al. Alas.

                                      1. re: wutzizname

                                        Thank you Wutz! That is it exactly. Not the desire to spend a lot on a burger, per se, but just an interest in focusing the burger discussion on one aspect of it.

                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                    I do agree. Though it is a pub that does, ostensibly serve more than burgers, I do think of it as a "burger joint" and meant to list it in places to exclude. But I suppose that's a matter of opinion.

                                2. If you factor in the price, Comme ca has one of the worst burgers ever. I love the burger at La Boheme in weho and at happy hour, its half price.

                                  1. I much prefer Taylor's burger to Morton's. But it's only available at lunch. And unfortunately, it's under $15.

                                    Taylor's Steakhouse
                                    3361 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: wutzizname

                                      i saw it on the dinner menu too.

                                      1. re: wutzizname

                                        I got the Taylor's burger at their place in La Cañada, following a glowing review published in the Times. I was not at all impressed with the meat, which lacked flavor, and it was apparent it had not been salted before cooking as St. Nancy sayeth it must. Furthermore, it was a good deal more expensive than the Times article had said. The manager said that the article had simply been wrong about the price, and in answer to my second question said that OF COURSE they didn't pre-salt the meat, as no right-thinking cook would ever do such a thing. I immediately crossed off any chance of a re-match...

                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                          When you say pre salt, do you mean just before going on the grill or 30 minutes to an hour or more? In a restaurant like Taylor's they might sell 10-15 hamburgers in a day or none. If you pre salted them and no one bought them you would have to throw them out. That is my logic. If you are cooking at home, you know how many people, how many burgers and if you want to follow St.. Nancy's advice, salt away. I assume you mean Nancy Silverton.

                                          1. re: Burger Boy

                                            I've not been to the La Cañada Taylor's, but I have had the burger at the K-Town one several times (including just a couple weeks ago) and have found it to be one of the best (most flavorful) burgers in town. Not sure what the exact price is these days, but the LA lunch menu on their website says $9.75.

                                            1. re: Burger Boy

                                              I take it as pre-salt before cooking. The ideal to me is grind, loosely form the patty, a bit (pinch) of NaCl and also a twist of the wrist with my Magnum Plus Pepper Mill (not too much) and cook on really hot cast iron.
                                              In a restaurant setting, grind some good stuff, a bit of seasoning, loosley form the patty and cook with beaucoup BTU's!

                                        2. The burger at Rustic Canyon Wine Bar is excellent. I think it's $15-$16.

                                          Rustic Canyon Wine Bar
                                          1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: vinosnob

                                            vino, have you tried their Monday night "Burgers and Artisinal Beer" specialty menu?

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              No, but that sounds incredible!!

                                              1. re: vinosnob

                                                Maybe I'll give it a go next week. If I do I'll be sure to post and I know you'll do the same if you get over there for it first.

                                          2. One of L.A.'s most underrated burgers can be found at The Farm of Beverly Hills (both on Beverly Dr. & at The Grove.) Just a surprisingly damn good burger.

                                            I wouldn't put the restaurant in the actual "upscale" category, but I believe the burger goes for $14.75, so with tax, I think we're in business.

                                            2 Replies
                                              1. re: wutzizname

                                                The sweet potato fries aint bad either.

                                              2. I live so close to Grace and have been meaning to try Burger Night (Sundays, I believe) forever. How are they?

                                                Do they change burgers each week?

                                                1. Here are a few more options:

                                                  Anisette = $17 (lunch only)
                                                  Fig = $15 (lunch only)
                                                  Fraiche = $13 but $2 more for bacon or avocado (lunch only)
                                                  Grace (Sunday nights ony)
                                                  Tavern = $17

                                                  9411 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                  Grace Restaurant
                                                  7360 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                                  Anisette Brasserie
                                                  225 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401

                                                  FIG Restaurant Santa Monica
                                                  101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

                                                  11648 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049

                                                  6 Replies
                                                  1. re: New Trial

                                                    Thanks! Have you tried any of them? Have any favorites?

                                                    1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                      Of these, the only burgers I haven't tried yet are Fig (not usually in that area at lunchtime) and Tavern (got sidetracked by the triple pork burger, which was outstanding). The others are all very good burgers but no clear favorite among them, particularly now that Anisette changed the cheese it topped its burger with. I also had a surprisingly good 1/2 lb burger at Gyenari recently--the Korean BBQ place in Culver City. ($10).

                                                      9540 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232

                                                    2. re: New Trial

                                                      Scrolling down and reading, I was wondering when someone would list Tavern and Anisette, my two favorite burgers!!!

                                                      I would add R+D Kitchen, they have a great burger.

                                                      R+D Kitchen
                                                      1323 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

                                                      1. re: yogachik

                                                        But (unless you are sharing) you might want to ask them not to cut it in half, their default presentation.

                                                        1. re: yogachik

                                                          I wasn't impressed with my burger at the R&D in Fashion Island. It was dominated by the bun which was dry.

                                                        2. re: New Trial

                                                          Huge second to Tavern Burger. I was not thrilled by my burger at Comme Ca.

                                                        3. The Westside Tavern in the Westside Pavillion has a spectacular burger. About $15 and I think they are about to start serving lunch.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: bigredd

                                                            It is $13 and lunch starts July 7th. I think it is a good burger but can't hold a candle to the lamb dip sandwich there.

                                                            1. re: bigredd

                                                              although every time i stopped by in the vicinity of the tavern at westside pavillion it smelled like a pet store. that is quite off-putting to me, and i additionally don't know why it smells like that.

                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                It smelled like fish/seafood to me when I went by to check it out after a movie last week. That sealed the deal for me, I hate fish/seafood and put it on my ignore list...

                                                              2. re: bigredd

                                                                Correct I believe that it was scheduled to start on July 7th.

                                                              3. Jar, $18, available at the bar only, comes with the best fries in LA too.

                                                                1. 2 recs on the East side: The York in Highland Park (a gastropub, but really fun and GREAT burger) and reservoir in Silver Lake-- very nice, upscalish neighborhood bistro that serves a great burger as well, and mixes sweet potato and regular fries as a side.

                                                                  1. I was at the Boneyard Bistro last night and had the California Burger - 8oz of delicious Kobe Style Wagyu Beef on a brioche roll with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, bacon, cheese, and 1000 Island. Served with fries all for $19.00. The Patty Melt is also pretty fantastic. There are several burgers on the menu, along with a great beer and wine list.

                                                                    Boneyard Bistro
                                                                    13539 Ventura Blvd.
                                                                    Sherman Oaks

                                                                    1. Bar/Chateau Marmont has the greatest burgers, not goopy like Father's Office, just very flavorful beer.

                                                                      1. I meant "beef", must be thinking of all the drafts at FO.

                                                                        1. Saddle Peak Lodge brunch - Buffalo burger is the best upscale burger I've had so far. Of course If you can find a Kobe beef or Wagyu burger then I'd give that a try as well

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: ricomandel

                                                                            I think good burger has to have good beef flavor without "doctoring up" with likes of caramelized onion with balsamic vinegar or all the other crap. It also needs to be cooked correctly where the meat stays moist and juicy and the bun makes all the difference. My favorite so far is Comme Ca (I can take it or leave the slaw that is served on top) and La Boheme used to have great burger but not sure if they still have it.

                                                                          2. Don't really think it fits your criteria, but the Breakfast Burger at The Cabbage Patch on Beverly Dr. is pretty incredible.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: sarcasmsk

                                                                              Do they serve it with an egg on top (or what denotes its "breakfasty" aspects?).

                                                                            2. You should try the kobe burger at Petrossian cafe on robertson ....... just AMAZING !!!!!!!!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: bj1806

                                                                                can you describe further and how much does it cost? is there an online menu for the petrossion cafe/


                                                                              2. Had a very good burger at Boho a few weeks ago. I don't remember too many of the particulars, because it was actually the SO's, and I decided to eat half, but it had Gruyere and carmelized onions, and a lovely bun. I have also heard that the turkey burger at Kitchen24 is great.

                                                                                1. I've had the Hungry Cat Pug Burger, I've eaten at the Counter and 28 Degrees, I have to say my favorite is the Father's Office Burger

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: MikeLee

                                                                                    Out of those you just mentioned I'd probably go for the Father's Office as well. I enjoyed them all, but that one was the most memorable for me.

                                                                                  2. Just did a burger hunt on Father's Day weekend. Only one of those burgers would fit these requirements.

                                                                                    THE HUNGRY CAT - Pub burger, $16
                                                                                    Pretty good, and very original - a very "not a burger joint" take on the burger, and tasty.

                                                                                    The other burgers we had that day were from FATHER'S OFFICE, THE GOLDEN STATE and BOWERY.

                                                                                    My preferences were:

                                                                                    1. Bowery (definitely the winner for me, but they were all really good).
                                                                                    2. Father's Office
                                                                                    3. Hungry Cat
                                                                                    4. Golden State

                                                                                    Was just in Vegas this past weekend and had the #06 burger at LBS at the Red Rock casino. It might have beaten all of these. So crazy good.

                                                                                    Just a recommendation for your next weekend vacation.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: seanemac007

                                                                                      Try the burger at Bradley Ogden next time you're in Vegas. It's mind blowing

                                                                                    2. Just got back from the Foundry's and their new Patio Burger is delish. It's only $12 but Foundry does fit the bill for an upscale restaurant. I'm not going to say it's better than Father's office, they're both my faves and they're very different burgers. Foundry's is more fun, you can play with the toppings. It's juicier. So far it's a tie for my #1 burger in LA.

                                                                                      Foundry On Melrose
                                                                                      7465 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                                                                                      1. There are two. The burger at Rustic Canyon, which somebody already mentioned, and the the Chez Burger at Bouzy Gastropub at Chez Melange. It is worth a special trip to Redondo Beach just for the burger and their unbelievable truffle fries. I recently dragged a bunch of people from my office on the west side down there just for burgers, fries, and microbrews on tap, and the reaction was extraordinary.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: wasabica

                                                                                          I have to concur on the Rustic Canyon burger. IMHO it is the best in town. The quality of the ingredients puts in far ahead of the others.