Restaurant: Burger She Wrote
Location: 7454 1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Opening Hours: 11.30am-9.30pm every day
This restaurant is reviewed on YouTube as part of this Los Angeles vlog (click here).
When my friend suggested a lunch of either smash burgers or a taqueria, I signed up immediately for burgers. It was one of those days. Within 20 minutes, we were searching for a parking spot off Beverly Boulevard and eyeing up the line outside both the burger joint and the neighbouring taco place.
I have to admit the lacuna in my knowledge up front. WHAT is a smash burger? My friend pressed his hands together to illustrate, “it’s a burger, but smooshed”. Hmm. Okay. But whyyyy? I put the question to one side for a moment while we perused the menu. In the style of the ‘best’ places, the menu is short which has to mean that everything on it is absolutely perfect. No room for error.
As we were feeling lean (ha!), we both decided on a single smash (onions are amazing but cause all kinds of late night consequences for me) and to share a portion of fries. This turned out to be a wise decision.
The interior is, well, rustic. They know they will get through endless burger buns and so, it seems natural in this small space to use every available surface for stock.
In the USA, it’s unusual NOT to have Coke products to the front of the drinks line-up and, I can admit it, I am an occasional fiend for Coke Zero. However, my spritely gaze was turned by a rather excellent selection of Mexican Sodas. Coming from Ireland, I am familiar with the ‘mineral man’ doing the rounds once a week with a wide range of unexpected Irish soft drinks (note for non-Irish readers: ‘mineral’ is used in parts of Ireland to mean ‘pop’, ‘fizzy drink’ or ‘soda’).
That memory from childhood seemed out of place in a ‘very now’ LA burger spot, but here we were with unusual choices. I love the flavour of anything orange and so mandarin was my first choice. My friend went with tamarind, which – to be honest – I think of in terms of south-east Asian savoury cooking.
The flavour in the soda was SPOT ON. The sense of mandarin (rather than orange) was very clear and the bubbles in the soda were more intense and smaller than your average well drink. Some subtlety there and the full sugar hit helped a little with the jet lag!
Before long, our order was ready. Well, let me correct that… ‘before long’ in US terms works as an indicator of the length of the wait in that country. In Irish terms, you’d have gone up to the counter to make sure the chef hadn’t collapsed onto the hot plate and needed an ambulance and a spatula to be dislodged. And if she/he/they had not, to look balefully at the cashier to wonder where your food was. In other words, it took at least 20 minutes.
The point of the ‘smash’ part of the burger became obvious when it arrived. It is smashed flat, thereby increasing the surface area of the meat patty. This means MORE of the meat comes into contact with the hot plate, resulting in additional nubbles of deeply umami crunchy steak. Yes, I said nubbles. This, combined with a heart-smashing amount of salt, causes the tongue to explode with joy. The addition of fat-soaked fries acts as a soothing salve, but also as a carrier of additional salt. But there is no sense in which this meal looks appetising. How are you supposed to pick that up?
This meal makes for a rich and filling lunch. Opt for the smaller burger to leave with a sense of double smugness: you had fast food, but you didn’t go crazy (= double smug). Or damn everyone to hell and your arteries to sluggishness and go the whole hog. Or cow.
[You can see this restaurant in the following YouTube video]