Arriving at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, we knew that procuring a table would be a toss-up. Jumping out of the car, I raced inside and announced my request for an unreserved table and, approximately, how long something like that might take.
Receiving, of course, an invisible eye-roll for something so last minute at such an establishment, I was offered a vacated two-seater section at the end of the bar – or a 40-minute wait for a table.
Lacking an even ordinate amount of patience (especially when it comes to food) I jumped on the immediate offer for bar seating then danced outside to tell my friend, Sam.
Saddling up and settling into our bar-seats, we noted that I had a straight-ahead view of the internal workings of the kitchen. Sam was shy – he said he’d rather not know. I, on the other hand, could not stop staring. Our consideration of the menu was quick. We knew what we were there for, and exactly what you should go for if you’re in the neighborhood.
Prior to ordering we took a second to indulge my shameless side – and, if you care, the “Crispy Polenta” is made such by slicing bits from a full pan of cooked polenta and dropping said “triangles” in to the deep fryer (which we learned – when inquiring about the also-famous beignets – is on the upgrade to an industrial size to accommodate the incessant demand for the notoriously fried dessert).
Finally we chose respective beers to accompany our pending meal (mine, the Ruth American Pale Ale from Hair of the Dog Brewing) and sat back. Oh, Rustic Canyon, you are so cool. As in, kewl.
From my corner perch I even got to see Evan Funke amble in and out of the kitchen (his tatted arms are a dead give away), which obviously added an increased level of enjoyment on my part, and an elevated sense that I was in the know.
Enter the Niman Ranch Burger (after, what I should add, the perfect amount of down-time): sharp cheddar, onion fondue, bread and butter pickles, herb remoulade, served with hand-cut French fries and the “add fried egg” option (rule of thumb: never say no to a fried egg).
Unlike most ladies, I am not when it comes to eating.
In both taste and well – manner – I will get that burger medium-rare and I will not cut it in half – instead, I much prefer to pile everything on high and then smash the first bite straight in to my face. Delicious.
Of course, covered in a smear of egg and herb remoulade, I tried my best (hardly) to maintain some level of self-preservation that an establishment offering a $20 burger deserves.
Thankfully it was dark, so as I mowed my way through the fries (eh, a tad above average in texture and taste – I would not go out of the way to order these if they did not come pre-paired with the burger) and about 90 percent of the burger. I can say with about 40 percent accuracy that there was no true witness to my gluttony (aside from Sam, who is privy to my occasional crude sort of burger-behavior and has become rather immune to my child-in-trough-like habits).
Need to Know: Monday night is Burger Night where the menu boasts two additional specialty burgers (like the Patty Melt Burger and the BBQ Burger).
Would I return? Yes.
Would I order the burger again?
God yes. And so should you.
Location: 1119 Wilshire Blvd.
Type: Restaurant, bar
Company: Date, Friends, Family, and Visitors
Cost: $10-$31/plate, $9-$20/wine glass,
$6-$12/beer, $25+/.5 bottle-full wine bottle
Quick-Rec: If you aren’t a gambler, make reservations
Need to Know: Get the burger,
with fried egg. Always get dessert.