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.
It’s only available at the early bird happy hour from 5:30-6:30 Tuesday through Friday. So probably start leaving work early.
A house-made honey potato bun with the perfect combination of char, structural integrity, and pure pillowy softness. It holds up to all the flowing juices while never making your mouth work too hard or distracting from the more important ingredients. Other buns should look up to this bun.
Well-formed crust. Still pink in the middle (could’ve been a little pinker, hence the deduction). Lots of juices. This is hard to achieve with a relatively thin-pattied double cheeseburger and they come pretty close to perfection. A combo of ground chuck, short rib, and deckle (the best part of a rib-eye) gets pressed into the charcoal grill in imperfectly shaped patties which gives you some extra carcinogenic-but-who-cares char, and the condiments are aggressive enough to compete with the grill flavor.
Two slices of salty, stretchy sharp white cheddar. A small part of me is always going to wonder: What if it were American? What if….
It’s a two-fer: okonomiyaki mayo made with bonito flakes (smoked, fermented, and dried skipjack tuna) and aonori (powdered blue seaweed), and a sugary, ketchup-based tonkatsu sauce. You won’t eat the burger and go, “Holy shit, is that bonito and aonori in the mayo?” but it’s going to be the reason you can’t stop doing the dog-who-just-ate-peanut-butter move 15 minutes after you finish it. Maybe 20 minutes.
Pickled jalapeños, Fresnos, carrots, and shallots give a ton of necessary heat and acid, but they also come in such a small package that they never distract from the texture of the meat or drop the overall temp of the burger. This is what vegetables on a burger should do—act as tiny little flavor grenades. The thin slices of heirloom tomato are just sweet enough to let you know they’re there, but not enough to draw your attention away from more important things.
Overall: 47.5/50 (On a deeply personal note: this might be the best burger I’ve ever had in my life.)