Grub

Friday, January 21, 2011
Grub – 911 Seward St, Hollywood, California, USA
Burger:
White Truffle Burger
Serviettes:
4
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
14 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$13.50 USD
Summary

In the backstreets of Hollywood, amidst a forest of Post-Production studios lies Grub. You probably wouldn’t guess it were a restaurant if it weren’t for the sign and people coming and going. Co-Owners Betty Fraser and Denise DeCarlo (who met whilst waitressing at a pizzeria), deliver their cheeky take on “California Comfort Food” in a converted 1920’s duplex that from first glance, just looks like someone’s house or a quaint Bed & Breakfast. This is all intentional; Fraser and DeCarlo wanted a place that people could come to unwind, relax or soak up some of that lovely California sunshine in their courtyard after a busy day. With a meal in there for everyone, from breakfast, dinner and dessert, their tantalising menu will probably leave you undecided for a little while. Lucky for me I had been recommended the White Truffle burger by a LA local. It came on a Cheddar Kaiser with roasted Mushrooms, melted Swiss Cheese, caramelised Onions, fresh Arugula & Roasted-Garlic Mayo. Then of course it was all drizzled with the not-so-secret ingredient, White Truffle Oil.

Comments
“I was coming to the end of my trip. Los Angeles had been fun but it had also beaten the shit out of me. Long days and late nights were becoming the norm and the burger recommendations were flying at me left, right and centre. It was Emmy time and parties were in full swing. At one particular gala, after being introduced as “the Australian burger guy” for the 100th time, I finally had a recommendation that I knew I just had to try.
One morning (ok it was noon) I got up and decided to make the trek to LA’s trendy Post-Production district. For some reason walking seemed like a bright idea but after a decent hour, and a bit of a hunt, I found it. Strolling down Seward Street you’d be forgiven for missing it or just thinking its some random haunt. From your first step in to your last step out you’ve got amazing service – I’ve never been to a chirpier café/restaurant. As well as the White Truffle Burger I grabbed a homemade ginger ale and boy was a happy when it came out. Ten seconds later and the drink was gone. I knew I was thirsty from the walk (and from the night before) but this was ridiculous. All of a sudden the waiter brought out a few sliced carrots, cucumbers and pretzels with a herb-mayo for dipping sauce as a complimentary entrée – a really nice touch. My next drink of choice was going to be the blueberry lemonade. It was unbelievable. Burger or no burger, I’d be back at Grub in a second just for that.
Soon enough they brought out the burger. It came laid out like a conquered beast; with a steak knife straight through its heart making it ooze swiss cheese all over the place. I sat there in awe for a little while wondering how I was meant to tackle this monstrosity. After taking a few snaps of the Swiss Cheese Niagara Falls, I cut this bad boy in half and went to town. My first impression wasn’t great; the bun was way too hard and crunchy and I started questioning the use of this Cheddar Kaiser. All it did was take away from the other ingredients. The Swiss cheese coupled with the White Truffle oil was a big winner though, coating my mouth like the creamiest of melted butters.
Just when I thought it was getting better with each bite, I started pulling out the overload of lettuce, caramelised onions and mushrooms as they were killing my Truffle experience! On their own they were ok but they together they were like uninvited guests at a party. Even more disappointing was the beef – it was overseasoned and overcooked, which was a real shame. I didn’t bother eating my side of potato chips because I was just too full. I sipped on my amazing blueberry lemonade and thought about how much potential this burger had to be great. They really do have the right recipe here for an amazing burger (minus the stupid bun) but the ratios of ingredients and cooking times that day were just off the mark.”


Grill’d

Thursday, December 23, 2010
Grill’d – 157 Chapel St, Windsor, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
The Full Minty
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
7 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$11.90
Summary

Those burger lovin’ guys from Grill’d have done it again. Having just returned from their Burger Love Tour – where the Grill’d Airstream Van popped up across locations around Melbourne and Sydney giving out free burgers – they’ve announced a new burger to their already impressive lineup. With summer upon us, their newest addition to the menu is The Full Minty. We ate it on a traditional bun with a lean lamb pattie, beetroot, rocket, tomato, spanish onion, herbed mayo and Mint Jelly.
Available for a limited time.

Comments
“Considering what they were trying to achieve, I think they didn’t do a bad job. Although it still has the typical Grill’d taste (due to an overload of their signature herb mayo), I found that the mint jelly added a subtle sweetness. Not being too sure of what to expect from a lamb pattie, I found it juicy, brittle and still quite chewy, really reminding me of roast lamb. The bun was a little over toasted and crunchy, and I thought there was a bit too much rocket. Overall I didn’t dislike it, but I just can’t see myself ordering another one.”
“As with everything at Grill’d, the lamb was full of herbs, to accompany that there’s the herbed mayo and then theres the herb covered chips. It seems like they’re trying to make up for the fact that there isn’t much flavour going on. They don’t do any special meal deals so after ordering chips, sauce and a drink it works out very expensive and just not worth it. They also burnt one side of my bun to black charcoal. I’ll give them credit for trying something new but they failed miserably.”
“Not the best burger that I have had at Grill’d, but it did the job. The lamb pattie was cooked to a decent standard and tasted good, the texture however for me felt wrong, it was too chunky. The beetroot worked, but personal choice would have been to remove it. The thinly sliced red onion added a good sharp dimension to the burger accompanied with a great generous serving of mayo – there was no need to add any additional. Would I recommend it? Only if you have an open mind and NEED to try something new, otherwise I’d stick with the Mighty Melbourne thanks.”
“This is probably the first time I’ve ever eaten a burger with beetroot and not thought about removing it. It actually worked brilliantly here. Their “big deal item”– the Mint Jelly – brought on more of an after taste, but it was still a nice touch. Then we have the the lamb: on its own it was quite soft and juicy, but it got lost amidst the rest of the ingredients and didn’t steal the show the way a good pattie should. The worst thing is that the Herbed Mayo really killed any potential this burger had. I hate to say it because I love it so much with chips as well as in more traditional burgers. But its such a defining flavour and it just took over The Full Minty making it taste more or less the same as any other traditional Grill’d burger – but not for the better. Maybe replacing the mayo with a dollop of Natural Yoghurt would allow for the lamb and mint to really sing? Anyhow, for a Summer Special I guess I was just hoping for something a bit more special.”


The Counter

Thursday, December 16, 2010
The Counter – 7919 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, USA
Burger:
Counter Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
27 minutes
Would we recommend:
If you’re in the area
Price:
$10.15 USD
Summary

1) Grab a clipboard. 2) Pick up a pencil. 3) Try and keep from drooling. This is the process you go through when you first sit down at The Counter. This “build your own burger” franchise prides itself on providing its guests with over 312, 120 possible burger combinations, using only the freshest and finest quality ingredients for you to personalise your own gourmet burger. With this kind of formula, friendly staff and ice cold beers, they’ll have you coming back week after week day after day.
If the idea of creating you’re own burger just seems like too much pressure and avoids you asking, “I wonder what pineapple, hardboiled egg and mustard taste like..?” then look a little further down the menu and grab yourself one of their tried and tested Signature Burgers. I decided to go for the Counter Burger that included a Hamburger bun, 1/3 pound beef pattie, Provolone cheese, crispy onion rings, lettuce blend, sautéed mushrooms and tomato, all finished with a side of sun-dried tomato vinaigrette. These guys also have a wicked fries menu including a “Fifty-Fifty” where you can get a mix of both regular fries and sweet potato fries! (Breaking News: Aussie Burger Fans! Don’t have time to get to the States? Check out their closer to home, Sydney location).

Comments
“In true LA style, I parked my electric scooter on the curb, removed my helmet and gave my hair an awesome Fabio flick. After almost knocking into an interracial gay couple walking a lactose intolerant Labradoodle, I made my way inside, then immediately asked to sit outside – God bless LA weather. There wasn’t much point building and reviewing my own burger (although I would’ve made a cracker) as everyone has their own taste and style. So I tackled their Signature Counter Burger; excited at the thought of my first experience of Porvolone and Vinaigrette together. After ordering from my cute, waitress/actress/dancer I only had to wait for about 3 minutes before my order of “Fifty-Fifty” fries came out. Just when I began to think “Wow that was quick!”, my burger was being presented before me. When things seem to be too good to be true, they usually are. You want to feel like they’re taking some time in the kitchen, singing as they cook and talking about how much they love their job. In contrast, it was a bit like, “Hey you wana burger? Here’s one. Let us know when you want to pay.” But maybe I’m just old fashioned? Even though it came our super-quick, it also came out looking super-awesome. I couldn’t wait to get the photoshoot over and done with and sink my teeth into those crunchy looking onion rings. I took a few bites and nothing really jumped out at me. The Italian cheese had a bit of a bite to it, but you only really tasted it if you ate it without any meat. The beef was ok: lightly seasoned, a little bit pink, but too perfectly shaped and not juicy enough for my liking. It wasn’t until after I poured on the sun-dried tomato vinaigrette that the burger took a turn for the positive. The mix of heavy flavours from the Provolone, mushrooms and beef were now getting a contrasting and delicious tang that you rarely taste in a burger. For some reason I ate rather quickly, but still managed to feel pretty good afterwards. Then the sleepiness from the Provolone crept up on me forcing me to stay put, and to order another beer. A fun place to take your friends and try all of your different creations, but as for the Signature Counter Burger, its only real highlight was the sweet sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.”


The Millswyn

Sunday, December 12, 2010
The Millswyn – 131-133 Domain Rd, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Millswyn Burger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
16 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$19.50
Summary

Just opposite Melbourne’s Botanical Gardens along Domain Rd, you can’t miss a refined and sexy looking locale by the name of The Millswyn. You’re welcome to grab a spot at the bar or in the dining room, but with warm nights fast approaching, the terrace is the perfect spot for a bite and a beer. With a menu that ranges from a selection of Charcuterie, seafood and “Midnight Sweets”, you might find yourself tempted by the Millswyn Burger (available on the bar menu all week), which comes with a thick beef pattie, a toasted sesame seed bun, BLT garnish, avocado, relish and fries. Now all that’s left to do is decide on a drink.

Comments
“I really believe that when a meal comes out with great presentation, it will nearly always taste a little bit better. They have gone to a great effort to create a visually pleasing burger. Luckily it didn’t end there! A tender and juicy pattie sits on a slightly sweet bun with all your extras accompanied on the side. It was a nice change to go without cheese – it would’ve actually taken away from the burgers true flavours. I loved the side of relish, but I’m not sure how much the avocado really added.”
“You know a burger is good when it doesn’t need cheese. The beef was simply perfect and cooked with the right shade of pink. There was also the just right amount of fat to hold it all together and keep it juicy. The intertwined BLT combo with avacodo was very fresh and it didnt take away from the flavour of the beef, also giving it a really nice texture. Great atmostphere, decor, music and good-looking people everywhere.”
“A really enjoyable burger. The preparation that went into it was obvious, and the quality of the produce was of the highest standard. The beef was thick, juicy and fantastic. The blanched tomato slice was tasty and the avocado with bacon always mix well. There was no cheese, but it didn’t need it. What I really enjoyed was the relish (please try it when you go) that was a perfect dipping sauce for their very well-executed fries. And incase you have a spare $25 in your pocket, try washing it down with the Estrella Damm Inedit Beer – damn good.”
“As soon as it came out I was reminded of the USA, where building your own burger is a regular occurrence and makes the pickiest of eaters happy campers. I threw the lot in between the soft sesame seed bun and went to town. Definitely some of the nicest beef I’ve had; simple, soft, tender and tasty as hell. It was hard to tell if the avocado was needed; whatever it added it was subtle. The bacon was awesome, lean and a bit crunchy, with a hints of Kielbasa that you might pick up from an Eastern European deli. Salutations to the chef and the team for creating such a unique and luxurious dining experience.”


Capital Kitchen

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Capital Kitchen – 1341 Dandenong Rd, Chadstone
(Chadstone Shopping Centre), Victoria, Australia
Burger:
Cheesburger
Serviettes:
1
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
$20
Summary

Known for stealing a suburb away from Melbourne and turning it into the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, they prefer to call themselves the Fashion Capital. On your way to Tiffany & Co, Ralph Lauren and other luxury brands you’ll see Capital Kitchen. With a variety of sandwiches, salads, pasta and pastries to choose from, you better choose quick; this place is busy. Not that it takes too long to get your food. Its more the rivalry for a place to sit on a weekend that might leave you eating on-the-go, or sharing a table with other tired and hungry shoppers. We decided to see if the Fashion Capital could also provide Melbourne with a Burger Capital, and so we delved into the grilled Cheeseburger. It came on a seeded brioche bun with a beef pattie, cheese, lettuce, fresh tomato, herb mayonnaise, smoky tomato relish and with a side of french fries.

Comments
“To the team at Capital Kitchen I say, ‘A job well-done.’ I really enjoyed the slightly sweet bun, which paired well with all of the fresh ingredients. The perfectly cooked, subtly seasoned pattie was juicy, and tender and the finely sliced tomato and smoky relish were great little additions. A really tasty and well-balanced burger.”
“The ratio between the beef, cheese, salad and sauce was near perfect. However, the sweet brioche bun was too dry and too big for me. This affected the overall texture of the burger. The fries had no salt on them and we had to ask a waiter for it (it should already be on the table along with the pepper). When it did come out it was fancy rock salt, which doesnt stick to the fries and just falls to the bottom of the bowl. Seriosuly, just put normal salt on it.”
“At first I wasn’t sure what this burger would be like. Shopping centre cafes and restaurants don’t exactly have kitchens that possess Michelin stars for their excellence in culinary quality and service –well, not any that I know of. But saying that, when I go, I don’t expect to find any burger mecca, I just look for something that any of us can enjoy, thats affordable and most importantly one can share with friends. I would share this burger with all of my friends! The pattie was damn good; moist and delicious. There wasn’t too much green stuff and the thinly sliced tomato was nice. The cheese, mayo and relish were the icing on the cake. Chips were good. When you do decide to go, please invite me too.”
“As I clicked away with my camera looking for the perfect angle, I started to feel like I was shooting a Penthouse spread (again). This is by far one of the sexiest burgers I’ve had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into. And imagine, all of this at a family-friendly shopping centre. Every bite was amazing. To single-out any individual ingredient would be unjust. A happy marriage of ingredients that tasted more like a honeymoon.”
Capital Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Haché

Thursday, September 23, 2010
Haché – 329-331 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, London, SW10 9QL, UK
Burger:
Haché Cheeseburger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Smart Casual
Sleepiness:
15 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
£8.45
Summary

We thought we’d include an exert from from Haché’s website that decribes them to a tee…

haché [adj] (pronounced ashay) vt minced viance, derives from the French ‘to chop’

“We set out to produce the best and most innovative burgers to be found anywhere. Restaurants depend on consistency of quality, so we make life as simple as possible by serving only the best of everything.”

The Haché burgers are served on a fresh Ciabatta bun with roquette, beef, tomato, sliced sweet red onion, special Haché mayo and two slices of premium melted mature cheddar cheese..

Comments
“I’ve never been a huge fan of big crusty buns like Ciabatta for a burger, but this bun soaked up all the juices perfectly and kept everything together, trapping in all the flavours. The beef was excellent and I loved how the house mayo and cheddar cheese worked together in adding a nice creaminess that took the burger to another level. All in all, the behind the scenes research and development combined with a fancy restaurant environment have really paid off. When it came to ask for the bill it came out with a small bowl of Smarties which was a really nice touch to finish off a great meal.”


Bodean’s

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Bodean’s – Cr Poland & D’Arblay St, Soho, London, W1F 8PZ, UK
Burger:
8oz. Prime Beef Burger
Serviettes:
2
Dress Code:
Casual
Sleepiness:
20 minutes
Would we recommend:
Definitely
Price:
£6.95, add £1.00 for Monterey Jack Cheese
Summary

Just a two minute stroll from London’s busiest retail jungle Oxford Street, Bodean’s West in Soho is the deli-up, dinner-down, split-level destination for those after the authentic taste of the great American outdoors right in the heart of London. The burger offered is 8oz. of 100% prime beef, topped with Monterey Jack, tomato, lettuce, red onions and pickles, all on a toasted sesame seed bun, served with a side of fries.

Comments
“I felt like I was in a traditional American sports bar, with American beers, ESPN on the many plasmas and the word BBQ written everywhere. I was instantly impressed when they asked how I wanted my beef cooked (medium-rare). I then proceeded to collect my toolbox full of condiments and eagerly awaited the burger. When it arrived I found the beef was cooked precisely the way I had asked, with just the right amount of juiciness and seasoning. The cheese didn’t take away from the flavour of the beef and the bun kept it all together with too much slide. The homemade mayo and pickles on the side also meant you could add that extra bit of zest if you needed it.”


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