Monday, August 2, 2010

Burger Kitchen: Pat LaFrieda meat comes to LA

For burger connoisseurs, Pat LaFrieda beef is the holy grail. The mix he created for Minetta Tavern's "Black Label Burger" gained fame as perhaps the best burger in the country. So when it was announced that the Burger Kitchen would be the first and only restaurant in Los Angeles to source ground beef from LaFrieda, there was more than a little interest among the burger hounds of this city.

House blend burger on the left, "The Natural" burger on the right

A friend who is a Black Label fan and I joined forces this week to share both the Natural, the burger made Pat LaFrieda blend prime meat aged for 40 days, as well as their standard burger, made with their house blend. The Natural had been offered for $29, but is currently available for $19. The standard burger was available for $12 at lunch time, including french fries and a soda or iced tea.

We split both burgers, which had been ordered medium rare. The Natural burger had a very strong taste to it (we ordered it plain in order to taste the real flavor of the meat). Both burgers were a little overcooked and the Natural's funky taste was just not to my liking. I could not finish it, and I love aged beef. For that I recommend ordering beef from Bryan Flannery. His aged ribeye is simply outstanding. The burger was somewhat overcooked but just wasn't juicy and the bun to patty ratio was too high.

The regular burger was also somewhat overcooked but tasted much better. This burger is a fair value at lunch with the combo meal. The meat had fine flavor. The fries were fine too and were attractively served in a cone of "newsprint" with spicy ketchup. Regular ketchup was also provided when we asked for it.

Burger Kitchen offers over 20 types of burgers. For me, Burger Kitchen is a fair priced, "when in the neighborhood" option, not a destination. If you take it on those terms, you can have a nice meal, especially at lunch when the pricing is more favorable. But it does not hold a candle to the Comme Ca burger, which is $16 at lunch and $17 at dinner, and includes fries.

Burger Kitchen: 8048 W 3rd St @ Crescent Heights. Phone: (323) 944-0503.

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