Toque Talk: Govind Armstrong

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With Table 8 in the process of moving to the former Chocolat space on Melrose, we thought it would be a good time to check in with chef Govind Armstrong, seeing as he has all this time on his hands now—right? Uh, wrong. The man’s busy expanding the Table 8 concept at the new, bigger location, while turning the old spot into a gourmet burger bar (seriously, what’s with the burger bars) called 8 oz., opening next month with some sort of in-house Himalayan salt-lined meat locker (?!). Anyway, we wanted to know more. Here, Govind talks burgers, beer, and “adult shakes.” Hmm…..

So, why the move?
My partners and I have had our eye on the [Chocolat] space for a long time. We always thought it would be the ideal setting for Table 8 both conceptually and physically. I think the move is more of an evolution of Table 8 LA. The new location is bigger and brighter with dining both inside and out on the covered patio – the vibe will be relaxed and comfortable yet still stylish and elegant. We are planning for an environmentally sound build out, utilizing reclaimed woods and nontoxic materials where possible.

Next question: Why burgers? (as if anyone had to ask)
It’s something that I have always wanted to do. I love a good burger. When I was a kid I always begged to go to the Apple Pan, and In-N-Out (I actually still do). When we first decided to move Table 8 down the street the opportunity finally came for me to do my own burger bar. Who doesn’t love a place where you can a really great burger made with local ingredients and a great glass of wine or cold beer? It’s the place where I would want to hang out every night.

…Which will be 8 oz?
Yes. It will be an inviting, casual neighborhood spot with great burgers and seasonal bites, interesting beer and cocktails. A place where you can drop in day or night, meet a friend, enjoy a drink and a great meal, without pretense. The bar itself has doubled in size and now runs the entire width of the space—with a great selection of small batch beers on tap as well as bottles selection, a smart wine list and a full bar—with signature cocktails including adult shakes, floats, and sodas. House-cured turkey jerky (organic of course) will be complimentary at the bar

And the burgers themselves?
We’ll be using humanly raised and hormone-free beef, a custom blend of Black Angus sirloin, tri-tip, short rib, and chuck for the burgers. Hand formed patties will be stored in a Himalayan salt tiled meat locker before being grilled on our wood-burning grill. The menu will feature 6 composed burgers including the signature 8 oz. Burger or you can customize your own — 8 oz. or 6 oz., house blend, grass fed Estancia beef or free-range turkey, and ‘build your own’ with sides and sauces that will change seasonally. We will be making all of the condiments and sauces in-house, from the heirloom tomato ketchup down to curing the bacon. We will serve the burgers on toasted Yukon potato bread bun and offer a sprouted gluten free bun as well.

Do you think it says something about us or about our time that burgers are having their day. Weren’t expensive steak houses all the rage last week?
Sure, but the trends are not unique to Los Angeles. America loves beef, simple and classic. Restaurateurs have realized this, and are capitalizing on the simple fact that you can’t go wrong with a good steak or a good burger—they are staples on the American table. Neither will ever go out of style, they only become more stylish depending on how they are dressed or the setting they in.

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