Walking into the Burger Kitchen mid-afternoon, there were only seven people in the front of the house and three of them were working. The restaurant could probably accommodate 100 patrons between the booths, tables, bar stools, and sidewalk seating, and yet there was just one couple eating and one couple waiting for their lunch. When traveling abroad, I choose where to eat by how crowded a restaurant is – the more, the merrier. If a restaurant is filled with locals, it must be worthwhile, but if the locals avoid it, there is usually a reason for that. Parking is definitely difficult in the area around the Burger Kitchen and suddenly I was left hoping it was only the inconvenient parking that was keeping people away.
A friendly waitress provided a menu offering 26 burgers ranging in price from $9 to $50, and pointed out a daily special written on a chalkboard. Most of the burgers fall under the “From the Ranch” and “Burgers Around the World” headings, with a small number “On the Lighter Side”. While I was debating between the Godfather (beef patty, mozzarella, arugula, tomato, and Italian spread), the Mountain Burger (beef patty, Applewood smoked bacon, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and BBQ sauce), and the Cowboy Burger (24 oz. of pounded short rib and prime sirloin chuck), Alan, one of the owners of the restaurant, stopped by the table. Through an accent that was part Australian and part New York City, he said he and his son Daniel had just opened the Burger Kitchen and that the menu was a work in progress.
Having trouble deciding between the 27 burgers on offer? Alan stated that the menu is being expanded to 34 burgers with most of the new additions falling under the “Burgers Around the World” theme, including a $75 caviar burger named From Russia with Love and a $300 Dom Pérignon burger. I stayed grounded and ordered the $11 Mountain Burger, medium rare.
Without anyone else in the restaurant, the burger arrived quickly standing tall on its plate. And tall it was. At least seven inches. The top segment of the brioche bun caused the burger to look like it had a fivehead (you know, an extra tall forehead). The bun itself was baked beautifully and had a dark, golden crust but was so large that I was concerned that it would be too bready for the patty. Fortunately, it crushed down nicely and didn’t overwhelm the burger. Shredded lettuce is nearly always a disappointment to me and this case was no different as much of it jettisoned from the burger while eating, some of it before I had even picked it up for the first time.
The hamburger itself was remarkably unevenly cooked for being a uniform thickness. I had ordered medium rare and part of the patty came as requested while a large part of it had no pink whatsoever. The seasoning and flavor of the charbroil were good but the texture of the beef was inconsistent due to the varied doneness. The grilled jalapeños however, were fantastic.
If you’re concerned about parking, a valet service is available for a $3.50 fee and may be unavoidable unless you don’t mind parking a fair distance away. If you’re concerned about the burger, well….
The Burger Kitchen
8048 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Hours: Monday – Friday 11AM – 11PM
Saturday – Sunday 8AM – 11PM