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Jul 1, 2009 02:32 PM

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.