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8 oz Burger Bar - Pretty bad

  • b

Here's my report of a recent lunch. I'll keep it brief.

- Food: I had a lamb burger. It was the most overcooked lamb i've ever had. Nearly sawdust. Asked the waitress about it being overcooked; she said that the kitchen ALWAYS makes their lamb burgers well-done. REALLY?!?!?! A place run by Govind Armstrong ALWAYS cooks lamb well-done? Either she's outright lying to my face, or this place is a sham of an upscale burger joint. Re the rest of the burger, like the harissa, but the tomatoes were incredibly tart and i had to remove some of it. Bun was good, but nothing to write home about. ON a brighter note, the onion rings were really quite tasty, and I enjoyed my friend's pickle chips. But I didn't come here for the rings. Bottom line, the burger was just terrible.

- Service: Party of 2 got seated right away. There were only 5 parties seated. Took about 15 minutes for someone to come over and take our order. We waved, we tried to make eyes... we were practically being avoided. Meanwhile, the waitress and the bartender were snapping pictures of each other at the bar, chit-chatting and doing everything besides coming to serve us. After we finished, i jokingly asked my dining partner what he thought the over/under would be on how long it would take to get the bill. He said 10 minutes despite the fact that there were now maybe 6 parties in there (maybe 12 people total). Sure enough, it took 8 minutes for them to check in on us, and another 4 to actually get the check. Not that there was any VIP treatment... other people around us seemed to have to suffer through the same indifferent service.

Definitely don't recommend it.

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  1. i think you need to give it a repeat visit. sometimes you just went on a off night. plus you had a "lamb" burger at a burger joint. i would try their standard 8 oz burger and then review
    although i agree its not the best burger when compared to golden state and others..i foudnt it a lot better than umami...the night i went it was super packed..had to wait 10 minutes for a table...and when seated service was prompt, speedy, friendly and excellent. im just hoping you went on an offnight....

    6 Replies
    1. re: samtron608

      I had the 8 oz burger and found the meat to be BLEH. Tough, overworked, and tasteless. I did however find the beer battered onion rings to be pretty special.

      1. re: samtron608

        >>plus you had a "lamb" burger at a burger joint.<<

        ? Just curious - I'd hope that if they offered it, that it would be at least decent. And variations of groud lamb in some sort of bread are not uncommon in the world. I really like lamb, and I think like most folks who do, I'd prefer it rare - definitely nothing beyond medium - I would assume this to be common knowledge among those serving lamb. So when the OP stated how the lamb burger arrived overcooked, I'd question the kitchen's skills or their understanding of lamb. IMHO, the line that the waitress tried to feed the OP is unacceptable as well.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          maybe i went during one of the "FEW" good service days per the feedback so far....now im scared to go again due to the possibility of bad service..oh wells.
          and the reason i mentioned the lamb at the burger joint is that 8oz is more of a beef burger place. lamb is just another option. i just feel like the OP only went to 8oz once and got a lamb burger and based the review on that. kinda like me going to Langers for the first time and reviewing the place based on soemthing other than pastrami.
          but as the reviews flow in, it appears that 8oz, whether beef or lamb, does not rank high with the hounders.

          1. re: samtron608

            Thanks. Maybe Mr. Armstrong needs to pay more attention to this place. But he may be too preoccupied with his celebrity instead (as it seems his employees here are fixated on these hopes as well). Since his Table 8 in NYC received awful reviews and eventually closed, that was probably a manifestation of his loss of focus as well as a premonition of things to expect from 8 oz.

            1. re: bulavinaka

              Everything was fine for myself except for the most important thing of all, the MEAT.

              It is pretty bad when the meat from Islands stands out more than his supposedly house ground beef. Fries were also a bit reminiscent of Islands as well.

            2. re: samtron608

              The Langer's comparison isn't totally apt since Langer's isn't the primary restaurant of a critically-acclaimed chef. they would never purport to do all things well. Armstrong has marketed himself as a top-notch cook who should be able to turn out everything well.
              My biggest beef (pun only sort of intended) was pointed out by bulavinaka. Sure, i ordered the lamb burger... But the explanation I was given for the the well-doneness means one of two things:
              1) a restaurant run by govind armstrong believes that a lamb burger should be cooked well done; or
              2) the waitress couldn't be bothered with my legitimate comment and lied to me.

              If there was an acknowledged screw-up, i would certainly return, as i am fully aware that kitchens have bad days. but based on the explanation from my waitress, the kitchen did not have a bad day. they put out the food the way they intended to serve it. So i've decided not to go back, because i was disappointed by the level of cooking. Of course, again the alternative is that i was disrespected by the waitress, which is another perfectly valid reason to not return.

        2. I live around the corner. Have been dozens of times. Service and food are extremely erratic. Sometime great. Sometimes crap. I tend to avoid more often than not, now, rather than roll the dice. But it's kind of a shame that such a simple concept with so much potential can't get things more right. All in all, I miss the original Table 8.

          1. I live nearby so I've been at least a dozen times and really like the place. Never had the lamb burger, but the 8oz burger is juicy and satisfies my burger cravings (unlike Umami which is damn tasty but for some reason doesn't satisfy my cravings...guess it seems more like a sandwich and less like a burger to me). Admittedly about 1 in 4 times I go my burger is slightly overcooked and/or merely so-so in some other way, but I think that's pretty common for many burgers places in LA.

            As for the service, it's perfectly fine for LA. And quite frankly one of my favorite things about 8oz is they always seat me promptly which never happens at Umami or Golden State. I'd rather have prompt seating than prompt service so I can at least wait around for my food with a good drink instead of hovering for a table in a crowded room or waiting outside in the cold.

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

            1. This place is not very good. MANY other better burgers to be had.

              1. I agree with Bert. It is extremely overrated and the service is poor.

                1. You know what I don't love--a waiter that doesn't act remotely interested in being a doing a good job as a waiter until he drops off the check--weak performance = weak tip.

                  That said, the burger was fine, just fine.

                  The Burger Breakdown...

                  The Beef: The beef burgers at 8 oz. Burger Bar were composed of a blend of Tri Tip, Short Rib, Chuck, and Sirloin. It was a little light on the sirloin--the beef had a great nose--the first impression was a wave a quality funk from the quality cuts. It was a sexy, steak funk rather than a skanky chuck funk, and that was refreshing for a change. Sadly, even at a bloody Med-Rare the steak and mineral notes did not shine through. The blend was about 75:25 beef to fat, so there was a far amount of lip wiping going on during the course of the meal.

                  The Sear: They cooked the burger on a grill, which could have been at 20 degrees hotter to impart a proper sear. Nonetheless, the grill marks provided some good color but no real sear to speak of.

                  The Preparation: Med-Rare as requested. The beef was ground to medium coarse. The uniformly thick, flat patty was packed somewhere around the medium firm range. The mouth feel was firm, and since the patties appeared to have been prepped on the same day, it was not rubbery or stiff.

                  The Bun: The bun was just fine. It was a toasted, plain, white, unseeded hamburger bun. This bun had enough sweetness not to be bland, but it did not overpower the burger with strong flavors of its own. The bun was at least a day old, so it was a hair on the stale side. It was sufficiently moist in the middle not to be an issue, though. Additionally, this cheeseburger was juicy enough to compensate for that small problem.

                  The Seasoning: The outside was competently seasoned with a salty blend, while the burger blend appeared to have not been seasoned. Just a little salt in the mix would have compensated for the flavors left lacking by the meager amount of sirloin in the original blend.

                  The Cheese: Properly melted American--enough said.

                  Meat to Bun Ratio: This was perfect. They nailed this with the half pound patty, and it made me wonder if the smaller "Melrose" burger was served on the same bun. The "Melrose" used a 25% smaller patty, which would have created a bun-heavy and dry dish had the identical bun been used.

                  The Fries: The fries were fantastic. They closely resembled the peel-on, skinny, hand-cut fries served at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, but these were prepared so that the outsides were crisp and the insides were creamy. It was hard to stop eating these fries. They were woefully under-seasoned, but a generous dash of sea salt remedied that.

                  The Value: The meal at 8 oz. Burger Bar set my companion and I back $35 (before tip) for two cheeseburgers, 2 orders of fries, and two soft drinks. $17.50 was a lot for a simple cheeseburger. Given the choice between this and Umami Burger, I would go to Umami Burger. The value was not strong in this one.

                  Burger Review : The cheeseburger at 8 oz. Burger Bar was darn good--really darn good. In spite of missing the mark by just a little in several areas, it was a well above average burger. I will be trying this one again in hopes that they were having an off night. The quality of the ingredients carried this dish over the minor prep hurdles.


                  8 oz. Burger Bar
                  7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

                  1. While I like 8oz Burger and I got great service at 8oz. I think it's a cop out when people say try the regular burger, but not the lamb burger. A burger restaurant, should at least, cook their burgers correctly.

                    1. Very erratic. Never great. Ive customized a couple of good burgers there. Service stinks.
                      I went to Table 8 when it first opened and some incredible meals. After seeing Govind act kind of douchey on Top Chef Masters, the mediocrity of his burger bar made sense.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: burratabelly

                        Of course, YMMV in terms of quality of service. But I agree he was a douchebag, in TC Masters, so arrogant and condescending.

                      2. Never had the lamb burger there. Golden state is where you wanna go for that on thursdays only. But I kinda like this place for the other things: such as the deviled eggs, the confit buffalo wings (once it was very cold in the center), grilled artichokes and short rib grilled cheese. Out of the burgers I like the grass fed beef one the best, although it doesn't match up to the great burgers of the city.