It was Friday night, Fernando Lopez had just closed up shop at his restaurant and I was in dire need of calories after my Friday night fencing club session. The homie Eddie Hah had been wanting to hang out for a while now and he surprisingly wasn't working the line tonight.
To bad we had to bring 'em back to his dear but rigorous avocation.
8 oz Burger is the beefy pride of Govind Armstrong. A chef of Iron Chef fame who was once a a judge at top chef.
The place was mad cracking on a Friday night with a wait of half an hour to 45 minutes. We had to wait just like everyone else. Inside, the place was sprawling with the combined inaudible clamor of guys trying to impress girls and rambunctious dudes just having a trago. The bar stays open until 2 AM and they had done 600 covers in one day last weekend.
To make time fly by, Eddie insisted on getting a classic Sazerac. His favorite, probably due to the unique complexities of the two different bitters used along with an absinthe rinse. And of course...we were seated shortly--I think--thereafter.
Kobe Corn Doggies
The delicious onslaught was imminent. Our first conversation we had was a long and drunken conversation about how they made everything in-house. And the conversation was to continue as we each ordered a pint of California Telegraph White Ale to accompany our American Wagyu Corn Dogs. "The batter isn't as sweet as the county fair's and the violet mustard is made with white wine and purple mustard seeds, pretty complicated". Well, I'm pretty sure that the fair's wieners weren't slightly game-y neither. Yum.
I like to think that having every burger on the menu is ok before having some salad first. The Caesar is made with tender Escarole here with an acquired saltiness. I think the two thick anchovy fillets on the side of the plate have something to do with that.
Duck Prosciutto w/ Honey Truffle Vinaigrette: A Table 8 Favorite
Eddie had told me that the dressing was a bit overwhelmingly sweet but the duck Prosciutto and toasted hazelnut duo just seemed to interesting to pass up. Well, it was sweet, but the truffle essence seemed to help it out. I wouldn't mind getting this again.
Grilled Artichoke W/ Herbed Aioli
I've always seen Grilled Artichokes on endless food shows, I was always intrigued by how they pulled each petal and ate the meaty root part. I found the flavor to be somewhere close to a corn flavor. I basically ate this whole thing and saved the aioli for future use through out the meal.
Grilled Cheese w/ Short Rib, Bel Paese and Onion Marmalade
A rec from blogger Mattatouille to Fernando, he wasn't wrong. Utmost pleasure in every bite, oozing with that buttery Italian cheese, thin, crispy and meaty.
Chicken Pot Pie Croquettes
Tasted exactly like it sounds. Crispy and piping hot, I asked him if was gravy was roux based. He confirmed yes. This was served with a Paprika sour cream but I wasn't able to taste the correlation between the pairing here other than just having something cold and creamy to dip hot fried stuff in.
Hot Wings: Flaming Hot Flavored
The wings were wings, quite succulent with a nice spicy vinegary kick. Enjoyed a nibble or three.
Stout Battered Rings
It was time for the official burger sides finally. Lately, I've been getting excited over onion rings whenever I see them on a non-franchise menu. I was a late bloomer with the stuff I guess. Here, they were not offensive but not amazing neither. They simply just did the job. "It could be worse" said Eddie, acknowledging this.
Kennebec Fries: Extra Crispy With Truffle Oil Glaze
Having just eaten some the overrated Pomme Frites at Wurstküche in the same week, I was vastly satisfied with this variety and preparation here, WAY better. Kennebec's have a firm and bright potato flavor, and they stay firm and crispy a little longer than other spuds. Eddie goes on and rants about a couple of times when the purveyors accidentally bring Yukon Gold's, getting mushier almost immediately even after the first blanch in oil. The truffle glaze and fried parsley specked papitas won the ring vs. fry battle this time around.
It was finally time for the damn burgers. I'll start off with my number one thing I look for: The Buns! Here, they alternate using a thick-skinned, buttery Brioche and a standard but indifferent sesame bun that they get from the nearby Melrose Bakery. We got pretty much every burger they had. The standouts being three only, the Pork Burger was the tables favorite. Juicy and the lightest tasting out of all the bunch actually. Topped with a kitschy coleslaw that added nice contrast.
Per Eddie's recommendation, we got the house special 8 oz with the "Melrose setup". Basically, this meant getting arugula, garlic roasted tomatoes and red onion jam instead of the "special sauced" house burger. The patty consisted of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib and chuck. The beef itself had a chunky texture in the mouth but came together when you bit the whole thing.
My favorite though was the Estancia. Grass fed beef with heirloom tomato ketchup, charred escarole and roasted mushrooms. We got this baby rare and still bloody. I enjoyed the most bites from this one. Perhaps because it was the leanest and most cleanest tasting out of all the beef, and I always like that minute gamieness that grass beef has. An honorable mention also goes out to the lamb burger, with harissa and a cool raita. But at that point I was burger'ed the hell out.
Don't worry, this hedonistic meal is almost over. A few scoops of their house made sorbets couldn't had tasted fresher after eating everything off the menu. A cool, Mint Julep flavor and coconut ginger flavor being the ones I devoured. Yes, I still devoured this.
Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding Anyone?
But of course, this is the Glutster. And the meal would not be complete without a whole serving of bread pudding made out of a ton of krispy kreme donuts made into a dessert. Served with an espresso whipped cream, this tasted exactly like a breakfast of donuts and coffee.
We capped off the night with a nice Hennepin, a medium bodied fruity British golden ale. Why not?
Now if everyone excuses me, I think I'm gong to go eat some sprouts and iceberg lettuce for dinner.
www.8ozburgerbar.com7661 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90046-7442