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Not Your Average Burger Thread

This one is all about the patty. More specifically, all about the CHAR.

Lots of these threads tend to focus on toppings. For now, forget toppings. Which patty in the LA area has the best char? I'm talking thick crust on a juicy patty. I'm talking about feeling it crunch. No soft squishy patties here (a la Father's Office). Let's talk char.

What do ya got?

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Father's Office Bar
1618 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA

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  1. Flame-grilled or flat-top griddle?

    2 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      For char you need open flame, unless you get the solid top red-hot. Those who like char and those who prefer flame-broiled are pretty much the same people, and they are welcome to it …

      1. re: Will Owen

        Agreed. There is a fine line between "kiss of char" and "carbon-flavored meat."

    2. Just to get the ball rolling: Fatburger -- but you have to ask them to cook it on the charcoal.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ozhead

        I agree

        1. re: ozhead

          Fatburger does not use "charcoal."  You can, however, ask them to make your burger on their gas-fueled "chargriller."

        2. Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Mortons and the California Club.

          21 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Forgive my ignorance ipse, but why would anyone go to a high-end restaurant and order a hamburger?

            1. re: mucho gordo

              Because they make good burgers.

              Example here for Wolfgang's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7437...

              Example here for California Club: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752633

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I guess it's my mind-set. I equate burgers with fast food. If I went to Morton's, for example, and didn't want steak, there other lunch or dinner choices available.

                1. re: mucho gordo

                  I guess it's my mind-set. I equate burgers with fast food.
                  ___________

                  You're missing out then.

                  1. re: mucho gordo

                    mucho gordo, I agree with Ipsedixit. You are missing out.

                    You seem to have a different definition of fast food than I do. Fast food for me comes from an establishment that serves food quickly and cheaply. That food can be burgers, pizza, sushi, tacos, etc. You sacrifice quality ingredients and skilled preparation for speed and economy.

                    Those same fast-food staples are just not the same animal when served in a restaurant that aims to serve top tier food.

                    Steakhouses make some of the best burgers I have ever had. They are finer burgers with better ingredients. I judge them differently than I would a 2 dollar burger that I might also very much enjoy.

                    Do you also only eat pizza through the local fast food delivery chain? Or get your tacos at the drive through?

                2. re: mucho gordo

                  because someone dragged you to a steakhouse and you don't feel like ordering steak.

                  1. re: raizans

                    Like I said, there are other choices besides steak/burger; prime rib, chops, etc.

                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      or uhm, hamburgers?

                  2. re: mucho gordo

                    Steakhouses tend to trim their own beef, and the resultant burgers tend to be more interesting than generic Chuck burgers that one gets elsewhere.

                    Also, steakhouses specialize in cooking BEEF.

                    www.theburgerreview.com

                    1. re: TheBurgerBusters

                      IMHO, they trim the flavor out whereas fatty chuck......

                      1. re: mucho gordo

                        Really, give it a try sometime. You never know, it might surprise you.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Again, it's the mind-set. I can get a burger anyplace. True, it might not be the finest money can buy, but I can't get a prime rib, veal or chops at a burger joint. I go to high end places to eat the things I can't get anywhere else except at home.

                          1. re: mucho gordo

                            I can buy a 12oz slab of prime rib eye easily enough, but I can't buy prime meat, grind it, form my own patties, and THEN purchase a single hamburger bun.

                            No grinder + too lazy to drive to 3rd street to buy 1 hamburger bun. And using supermarket hamburger buns on great quality hamburgers should be a felony.

                            1. re: ns1

                              That's a very good point.

                              Never thought about it that way (even though I do grind my own meat). Easier to make your own steaks at home than burgers at home -- at least steakhouse burgers.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                +1, can get steaks perfect at home. Burger-never as good as the best spots, and I have tried many, many, many times.

                            2. re: mucho gordo

                              Morton's uses Allen Brother's steakburgers. Wolgang's uses steak scraps from their dry aged meat that is handpicked and shipped from NY. Again, I am not here to here to change your mind set but there is an insurmountable difference in taste and texture.

                          2. re: mucho gordo

                            I hear you... It all depends on your preference. Chuck can be pretty darn great. The Six creates a near miracle with Chuck. Chuck has limitations, because it delivers a one-note flavor profile, and it must be cooked to at least Medium to generate good flavor. Custom blends of other cuts can create more complexity, and because they don't rely on collagen for flavor, they can be enjoyed at lower cooking temps. Umami and Wolfgang's do a great job in this realm.

                            On the plus side, Chuck is cheap and plentiful since 28% of a carcass is Chuck.

                        2. re: mucho gordo

                          The thinking goes like this: I'm in the mood for a burger. In fact, I'm in the mood for a great burger. I think I'll go where they make the best burger. And that is quite often a steakhouse.

                          It works the same way when I'm in the mood for a steak.

                          Why would someone deprive themselves of the best, just because there are other "better" things on the menu? Come back for those things when that's what you're in the mood for. But go for the burger when you want a burger.

                          NB: When it comes to steakhouse burgers, I haven't tried Wolfgang's yet, but I much prefer Taylor's or Nick & Stef's to Morton's.

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

                          Nick & Stef's Steakhouse
                          330 S. Hope St., Los Angeles, CA 90071

                          1. re: wutzizname

                            You got it right about Taylor's! Better quality steaks and burgers at a reasonable price. And the Molly Salad is always great to start off with!

                            1. re: JosephEBacon

                              Don't get me wrong, I like Taylor's. Great ambiance and the prices are quite reasonable. But the meat quality doesn't measure up to Morton's (for one). I've had the burger at Taylor's a couple of times and I've had all their steaks over the years (all at the K-town 8th Street location). I too love their Molly salad. But when I want top quality beef it wouldn't be my first choice.

                              1. re: Servorg

                                Only time I ever feel like going to Taylor's is if I'm piss-ass drunk from a visit to Dan San Sung and have lost all sense of direction but still have a craving for red meat.

                      2. It's not my blog (because I don't have one) but it's a pretty good one to read for burger lovers...
                        They usually reference the amount of char and have pictures too.

                        http://www.theburgerreview.com

                        1. Sandos Sub Shop in MB serves ridiculously good burgers. Go there once and you'll be totally hooked. They should be able to accommodate the desired char you crave. Just tell them what you'd like.

                          http://gourmetmiser.blogspot.com

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Gourmet Miser

                            I have to respectfully disagree--I was there yesterday, and they were just OK. They really dried out the beef by pressing it to death on the gas grill. The sear was impressive, but all the oil and juice ended up in the smoke hood.

                            1. re: TheBurgerBusters

                              Sorry to hear that. Of all the times we've been there, the burgers were pretty juicy.

                              www.gourmetmiser.com