By Jill Weinlein, 11/24/2010
The Burger Kitchen
Opened less than a year on Third Street, The Burger Kitchen is a family enterprise. Mom Genevieve designed the warm and comfortable eatery. She grew up in New Jersey and wanted a friendly restaurant with a New York vibe for families, couples and an older crowd. The Burger Kitchen sells gourmet burgers from $9 to $50. I wanted to find out if the quality of the beef and other ingredients were worth the extra price.
Above the bar is a large screen television. During the day, classic movies from the TMC channel air. Families arrive early to dine with their children, and the television is changed to cartoons upon request. Young and older adults grab a gourmet burger and drink, while watching a sporting event as the bar fills up with customers in the evening.
Son Daniel is in charge of the beverages. He went to NYU and frequented McSorley’s Old Ale House, where he became a bit of a beer aficionado. The Burger Kitchen offers a variety of unique beers, featuring 10 on tap. Some of the popular brews are Chimay from Belgium and Mama’s Lil Yella Pils. Drafts come by the glass for $6-$7 or $20 to $28 a pitcher. Daniel also has a nice selection of some of the finest Napa Valley wines. Coppola is the house wine at $6 a glass.
The burgers are all made with USDA freshly ground prime beef (or turkey, lamb, or seafood, upon request) and start at $7 for the All American. For a richer, tastier burger, the Kobe beef burger comes with grilled romaine, tomato and onion for $19. Or move on up to the Natural burger ($26). The beef is flown in from Pat La Frieda meats in New York for The Natural. It’s 40 day, dry-aged prime blend with a secret rub and served on a soft bun with butter lettuce, grilled heirloom tomatoes and caramelized onions. You also get your choice of Camembert or organic white cheddar cheese. It’s amazingly good and can only be found in California at The Burger Kitchen.
Father Alan and Daniel work as a team to create new special dishes and recipes. When they introduced the Boars Head pastrami on rye with Swiss cheese, house made thousand island dressing and coleslaw onto their gourmet sandwich ($12) menu, they first served bite size samples to guests to get their feedback. It took weeks to perfect the sandwich before putting it on the menu. I’ve never acquired a taste for pastrami – I think of it as a New York deli meat. Since Alan raved about the sandwich, I was game to take a crack at it. A decent amount of meat and cole slaw appeared on a brown and white rye with melted Swiss cheese oozing down and two pickles on top. One bite and I became a pastrami believer. Now I understand why my New York friends obsess over this sandwich. It was terrific.
My daughter is a big fan of Caprese salads and sandwiches, so she decided to order The Godfather ($12). It’s a beef blend with mozzarella, spicy arugula, heirloom tomatoes and a house Italian spread. Delizioso! She thought it was divine.
I opted for the Veggie Burger ($9) with its vegan patty filled with healthy vegetables and served with sliced avocado, a red/purple heirloom tomato and yogurt and mint sauce drizzled on top. With the delightful fresh bun, it was flavorful and gratifying.
Be sure to order the sweet potato fries to accompany your meal. They are crisp on the outside with a dash of salt and served with a scrumptious garlicky aioli dipping sauce.
Looking over the menu, even a finicky eater will find something they will enjoy. Some of the comfort foods offered are the tomato and basil soup with a grilled cheese sandwich or for Aussies there is a turkey with mushroom Australian Meat pie.
Desserts are displayed in a case filled with a triple chocolate cake tower, red velvet cake, and carrot cake. The homemade chocolate chip cookies are served best as a sandwich with vanilla ice cream from MILK. All looked yummy, but will have to wait until my next visit.
It’s a little Los Angeles, a bit of New York and a dollop of Australia all rolled into one great place for the entire family.
Don’t have anywhere to go for Thanksgiving? The Burger Kitchen will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $25. Come enjoy the holiday with Alan, Daniel and Genevieve. 8048 Third Street, (323)944-0503.