Saturday, March 6, 2010

In Search of the Best Burger in LA- The Foundry on Melrose

I'm a creature of habit. I like structure and patterns. And when it comes to restaurants, much to my husband's dismay, I like to go the same restaurants over and over again. I figure, once you've found a good thing, why mess with it? I'm almost always disappointed when I do branch out.

Despite all that, every now and again, especially when I'm trying to make Steve especially happy, I like to wow him with suggesting date night takes place at a restaurant we've never been to.

On Thursday PM I made one of my grand gestures and we were on our way to Umami Burger- a great place we went to for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Ever since we went, Steve has really wanted to go back, bringing it up anytime we are talking about what to eat next. But it's on the other side of town and even though I've only been once, I know it's the type of place you need to be strategic when planning your visit. So, since it was 8pm, and it would take us about 30 minutes to get there, I figured we were safe.

Sadly, and not unpredictably to my smart readers, I was wrong.

When we drove up to Umami, there were probably 15-20 people waiting for their shot at the slice of meat making heaven. I was getting hangry, so we scrapped that.

Ever since Steve and I met, we've been in search of the best burger in Los Angeles. On the first night we met, we split a burger on the patio of Cat & Fiddle and made out like a couple of teenagers. Because of our solid beginning, bonding over a cheeseburger, this all makes sense to me. In January LAist came out with a list of their best burgers in LA, and we've slowly been making our way through the list. Playing the Game definitely puts a damper on that, but we take advantage when we can.

So off we went to The Foundry- voted the best burger by LAist. We scored rock star parking around the corner from the restaurant and walked in to a lively restaurant.

There were lots of signs that this wasn't going to be a the greatest dining experience, but I was trying to not judge too quickly. We waited for a few minutes before the hostess even acknowledged us. And when she did, to ask us if we had made a reservation (the answer was no), her response was, "Hold on a second, I'm sorry, this is my first night." And off she went in search of the real hostess.

A few moments later we were seated at a "prime table" directly across from the open kitchen area where we could see all the action. We were also pretty close to the live "music" going on- which sounded like random banging and nothing like musical talent. When I looked at the menu, they spelled Guinness incorrectly- Guiness. I ordered a Fat Tire, "We're out of that, I'm sorry! And we have no Guinness either" the real hostess said. It went downhill from there. I settled on a diet coke and Steve ordered a vodka. They, of course, didn't carry Skyy but recommended Harpers (a vodka I've never heard of- which means nothing). A waitress came back with my diet coke and said, I'm sorry, we're out of the Harpers, is there something else you'd like?" Thoroughly annoyed, already, I looked at her and said, "The hostess is the one who suggested it, so why don't you tell us what you DO have." I'm usually not so bitchy, but this was getting ridiculous and we hadn't been there more than five minutes yet!

Finally with an alcoholic beverage in hand, Steve and I ordered our burgers and decided to try the macaroni and cheese and the tater tots. Annoyed, yet again, that a place that serves "the best burger in LA" didn't have french fries on their menu. As Steve and I continued talking, I became distracted by the man sitting next to us who was being sassy with one of the managers (I think?) who was offering to clear his plate. I looked over at what I thought was a brownie and heard the following interaction:

Manager- "Are you doing with this? Or are you still eating?"
Diner- Looking up at the manager he says quizzically, "Let me ask you, if your toast was this burned, would you eat it?"

Ha! Toast! I thought it was an f'n brownie.

I will say that our food came out quickly. And it looked good. Here are my gripes though:
1. The bacon condiment was gross.
2. Onion rings which are served with the burger were so burned the onion was black. And they were cold.
3. I had to ask for ketchup and they had to go and find some! I got one small side and when I asked for more, it took five minutes before the waitress came back to say, "We're trying to find some." I told her to forget it.

Here's what I liked:
1. Despite the lack of ketchup and french fries to truly enjoy my burger, the burger itself was very good. Tasty, juicy burger meat. Me like.
2. Steve hated this, but I loved that the burger was served on a Hawaiian sweet roll.

The tater totes were nasty. Instead of being potato-y, the inside was mushy and didn't taste anything like a potato. I don't recommend trying these. The macaroni and cheese did not come with our order. When I told the manager (who brought our food)
that we were just waiting on the mac and cheese, he said, "Well that was never ordered." Rookie. Just tell us that it's on its way out. Although being in direct site of the kitchen and the chef, I can see how that little white lie would have been difficult.

Speaking of the kitchen, being so close to the action (which the hostess made seem like a good thing), made it nearly impossible to relax and enjoy our meal. Listening to the chef bark out orders, yell for the runners and literally throw pots and pans to be washed, was no fun at all.

I looked at Steve and promised to pay if only he would hurry up and finish his meal!

While I'm happy to cross yet another burger joint off our list, I am in no rush to go back to The Foundry.


i might be Amy March 9, 2010 at 9:02 AM  

i strongly believe you should send this to the restaurant GM! If you type a short note and enclose a printed copy of your blog entry, he very well may think your blog is huge and gets tons of traffic and they f**$&d up bad and give you free stuff.

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