Westbound in the Name of Beef – Part 2

8ozFront8oz burger

8oz Burger Bar, West Hollywood – 7661 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles CA 90046 (Find it!)

Where IN-N-OUT excels with simplicity, our next burger destination does so with creativity and style. 8oz Burger Bar came highly recommended by my brother-in-law Jamie, a sandwich lover in his own right and the only other person I know that has a “burger repertoire.” The 8oz concept is perfect: a bar serving reasonably priced beer, wine, and mixed drinks paired with a restaurant that allows the diner to create his or her ideal burger from an almost dizzying array of combinations (seriously – like, over 8000). While somewhat confusing to the uninitiated, the 8oz menu is set up almost like a burger buffet. First you select your base, which includes either a beef (two kinds!), veggie, fish, or turkey patty and a handful of pre-selected toppings. From there, you can choose from eight standard condiments (the usual LTO, pickles, ketchup), seven cheeses (from American to cave-aged Gruyere), thirteen special sauces (green peppercorn aioli, anyone?), and eleven additional toppings (from plain old bacon to red onion marmalade).

After an extensive internal and external debate regarding toppings and special sauce, I decided on “the 8 oz” signature cooked medium rare. The 8 oz burger starts with the house blend beef patty, a mouth-watering combination of sirloin, tri-tip, short rib, and chuck, cured in a Himalayan salt-tiled locker (I know, right!?). In addition to the standard lettuce, tomato, pickles, and 8 oz special sauce (ketchup, mustard, mayo), I added balsamic glazed red onion and a trio of dipping sauces including spicy mayo, horseradish dijonaise, and roasted garlic aioli. When the food arrived, I noticed a nicely seared and cheesy beef patty sitting on the familiar brioche bun. I really liked how the burger sat on top of the lettuce, tomato, and pickle, placing in directly in the middle of the top and bottom bun. All too often, the condiments and toppings are placed on top of the burger, making it difficult to eat without stuff falling out. Score one for presentation. As for the taste, I practically unhinged my jaw to get as much of that burger in my mouth as possibly and was immediately impressed by the flavor of the meat. I could tell that fresh, high-quality ingredients were used and it really makes all the difference. The combination of the different cuts of beef creates a really unique flavor and texture that I had never experienced before and can’t wait to try again. The slice of tomato added another dimension of flavor and tasted as though it was independently seasoned (almost as good as the Eulogy Tavern). The lettuce and pickle added just the right amount of crunch and the special sauce really tied everything together. I was a bit disappointed by the balsamic grilled red onion as it really didn’t bring as much to the burger as I had hoped. I also didn’t get to try the additional dipping sauces on the burger because I was too busy stuffing it into my face (I did get to test them on some french fries though and all were great).

As great as this burger experience was, there were a few things I would change. While the burger-to-bun ratio was good, the bottom bun didn’t hold up as well as the top, and I was left with a significant mess on my hands. Partly to blame is the plate itself. The juice from the patty seemed to pool right in the middle, making it difficult to put the burger down (not that I wanted to). Also, the burger itself was just a bit too tender for my taste. Whether it was the cooking style or the better quality beef, the patty just didn’t feel substantial enough. I probably could have eaten two had time allowed, so I left feeling just a little incomplete.

Here’s the Beef: 8 oz. ranks among the top burgers I’ve had so far, though it will likely be quite a while until I can get back. The house blend combination of beef was a welcome change from the standard ground chuck, and the seemingly endless combinations of toppings and condiments make it a great place to try something new. The setting is exciting yet comfortable, and the menus prices are affordable – provided that you don’t go overboard with the extras.

BURGER: 8.5 out of 10

ESTABLISHMENT: 9 out of 10

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  1. Megan

    I know you like to focus on the burger, but I think one must also mention the delicious appetizers/sides. Deviled eggs, fried pickles, and truffled potato skins… mmmmm.

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