Ordering the off-menu special is practically a reflex for some Angelenos. We get our Double-Doubles “animal-style” without a second thought, request Philippe’s sandwiches “wet” (with extra jus), and bug the grill chefs at Apple Pan about the cheddar-oozing tuna melt.
But in the age of Instagram, chefs have seriously upped their game, constructing creations to satisfy unorthodox appetites and provide in-the-know regulars with another reason to return.
Some are beloved staff meals that have spilled into the public domain, like the Chowder Poutine at Silver Lake’s L&E Oyster Bar: bacon-rich chowder, molten cheese, and chorizo ladled over crispy fries. Others, like guisado-stuffed Puffy Tacos at Bar Áma, the Parisian Jambon-Beurre sandwich at Petit Trois, and the Jazz Burger at Jitlada, were former menu items that proved so popular, they endured.
There’s a sneaky pleasure to ordering something that not everybody knows about, and it’s all the more enjoyable—down-right VIP, even—when you sprinkle on a layer of decadence. The $28 baked Truffle Pocket at Wally’s Beverly Hills is a gooey calzone filled with shaved black truffles and truffled Gruyère, while the Russian Hack at Wexler’s Deli Santa Monica combines house-smoked lox, cream cheese, capers, and onions on a bagel crowned with 30 grams of private-label caviar for $100.
Then there’s Animal, where $18 can buy you roasted bone marrow blended into a ground chuck patty and served on toasted marble rye. All you need to do is ask for it by name: the Boner Burger.
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