Every week on Burger Breakdown we take a long, hard, introspective look at a single L.A. burger and grade it on a laughably subjective 50-point scale. Why? Because burgers mean too much to you, us, and everyone you know to not be completely picked apart.
The bearded culinary boy band of Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo, and Ludo Lefebvre put this Big-Mac-for-the-one-percent on their bistro’s permanent menu a few months after the doors first opened and it’s been a city-wide favorite ever since.
Coarsely ground, heavily salted, griddle-cooked, high-fat-content ground beef: it’s the platonic ideal for a bistro burger. There’s a hard sear on every square centimeter of the patty but it still manages to stay pink in the middle, which is not an easy thing to accomplish on a thin patty. There is precision and intent within these beef discs.
It’s “craft American cheese,” not “Kraft American cheese,” if you get what we’re saying. This is the good stuff: the kind of American cheese that makes you proud to be an American, and prouder that a French chef would slap it on a burger. It has more bite and cheddar funk than the plastic-wrapped stuff, and even though it has a higher melting point, it still hits the gooey factor when all the beef juices melt into it. It’s reminiscent of a McDonald’s quarter-pounder with cheese in a flawless way.
One of those brioche buns that makes you remember what brioche buns were before Martin’s potato roll stans turned them into a punchline. It’s fantastic. But, buns aren’t judged in a vacuum. Buns are contextual. In the context of Le Big Mec, the brioche is too light and airy to stand up the puddle of delicious meat liquid that it’s sitting in.
There’s no actual produce on the burger, but I already wrote down what the categories are, so let’s explore. A toddler’s handful of chopped up pickle bits have been thrown in the garlic aioli, and they’re the only crunch, acid, freshness, and reprieve from the onslaught of various animal fats that you get. I wanted more of all those things. I wanted balance, even though I knew damn well that the Big Mec is intentionally, beautifully imbalanced. This burger was designed for meaty, cheesy shock and awe like Shaq was designed to bang in the paint. And what am I gonna do—tell Shaqtus the should step back and shoot some treys? No way. Minimal deductions were issued.
Foie gras-infused red wine Bordelaise. FOIE GRAS-INFUSED. RED WINE. BORDELAISE. This is the real star of the burger, and the single component that makes the restaurant itself indispensable. Petit Trois is the only place that pull off a sauce this insane, delicious, and consistently executed and mop it onto a double cheeseburger. One bonus point has been appropriately allotted.