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Jun 14, 2006 07:35 PM

The turkey burger at Novel Cafe ...

  • p

This burger has been rec'd to me a few times and I was looking forward to trying it.

Novel Cafe is in Westwood. It's on Gayley, a long block from Wilshire.

I went today with my wife.

I ordered the turkey burger with grilled onions, avocado and bacon. It had mayo on it, ketchup on the side. Pickles were on it, too. I asked for no cheese, which I always do.

It was a very good turkey burger, juicy and well-seasoned. Turkey burgers are always cooked the same pretty much (never rare or well or anything), this one has a softer texture than most. Not sure if I prefer that, I think I prefer firmer, but it was not a problem.

The bun was sesame (there was a choice), pretty good, not outstanding. Toasted a bit, but not hot by the time it arrived.

Overall, a fine turkey burger that I would recommend. Not as good as SF Saloon or a few others I prefer, but a good burger.

However ...

The service today was not very good at all.

The restaurant was crowded. We were seated right away, though, there were a few empty tables. We sat outside.

The waiter took our drink orders (just water, actually) brought them over and we ordered. I had the turkey burger, the wife a chicken sandwich. I had fries, but should have had the salad selection. The fries weren't that good, soggy and salty.

I'd say it took at least 20 minutes for the food to arrive. A long 20 minutes. Maybe a little more. Could have been 25 minutes. Food finally arrives, with a bottle of ketchup.

We never saw a waiter or anyone else again. No one checked to see how we were doing. It's food you eat with your hands and we needed extra napkins but no one was around to ask.

We finished our food, then sat and waited for the check and a take out box for leftovers. No one ever came. Eventually, I had to hunt down the waiter and ask for the check and a box. That took some time.

All in all, a fine burger experience I'd like to have again was sort of wrecked by a chaotic vibe and very little or no service.

Also, the whole bill for two sandwiches and no drinks was over 21 dollars. Not a fortune or anything, but a lot for what we got.

Very good sandwich, but very low marks for service. And I've low standards for the most part.

I will give them another shot, maybe on an off hour, but I can't recommend the Novel yet.

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  1. thanks for the writeup. any other rec's for a turkey burger?

    4 Replies
    1. re: dc

      as he mentioned, the turkey burger at SF Saloon is damn good.

      1. re: dc

        The turkey burger at Ammo on Highland is very good. Actually, everything there is good. It's a very good place with good prices.

        1. re: dc

          I'm sure I'll be kicked off the board for saying this, but the one at Marie Calendar's is quite good.

          1. re: dc

            Sorry I don't have time for a detailed response ...

            Here are some I eat all the time:

            SF Saloon

            Ronnie's Diner in MDR

            Duke's on Sunset

            for fast food, the turkey burger at Fatburger is great

            in deli's I order them when the deli isn't great, like at Jerry's ...

            The turkey burger at Roll n Rye in Culver City is good

            Hope this helps. There are others, this was off the top of my head ...

          2. You know what, do give the another chance some day. I have only been there once (on a weekend) but really enoyed it. Had very lovely service, refilled my coffee which for a Westwood "coffee house" is pretty rare. Nice turkey sandwich as well. And the drip coffee was very good. I also felt like I could sit there forever and not be bothered...again, it was the weekend. Good luck!

            1. You spent over $10 per person for a burger and fries with In'and'Out Burger right up there on Gayley two blocks north closer to campus? And there is a Tommy's clone hut just south of the turnoff into the In'and'Out drive-thru lane that has larger, fresh-grilled double-burgers for just over $2? And Headlines right across Gayley from Novel has a burger special with a turkey-burger option?

              No wonder so many faux coffee shops/restaurants have failed in that location.

              1 Reply
              1. re: nosh

                How is this helpful? You can't get a turkey burger at In and Out, can you?