The Valley is home to many a random burger dive, some of them, like Bill’s of Van Nuys, carry a following and reputation that make them a worthwhile stop. But once upon a time, in the beginning, some brave soul had to conjure up the courage to try the place for the first time thereby unleashing burger glory from a diamond in the rough. Burger Hut was my opportunity to find that anonymous burger joint and plant a flag.
The Los Angeles food scene has evolved much in the last 10 years. We got pizza joints that NYers make plans to visit, gastropubs that are growing on trees and iconic sushi restaurants spawning more iconic sushi restaurants. One aspect of the eating scene here that has been steady eddie has been the promise of shacks serving cheeseburgers and tacos. This meld of fast Mexican and American food was a natural osmosis. The kicker is finding the right mix of the two in a single meal.
Visiting B-Man’s would eventually lead to opening a veritable Pandora’s box of Bang for your Burger Buck. It comes down to this: the Teriyaki Burger model elevates the offering of the common burger stand. The glaze would be wholly unnecessary unless the patties were cooked beyond medium well and the sweet zing from said sauce and the pineapple assures the eater that this burger is something fun, best served slightly after school but lunch hour is fine too, along with dinner, Hell just eat it whenever. Other burger models may indicate a more serious meal is at hand but the Teriyaki burger is a light hearted beefy affair and there are more than a few to choose from in Los Angeles. Since the B-Man’s chain is nestled in the SGV, it seemed fitting to take a crack at the genre in the backyard of LA’s Asian American hub . . . now about that triple cheeseburger I was talking about . . .
Burger Plaza Grill is just that perfect combination of randomness, an overall lack of promise and the plain truth of affordable price that makes it a classic case of Bang for your Burger Buck. These guys are about as interested in staking their claim in the burger world as I am in counting the calories they just so happen to provide on their menu. But know this: my jaw dropped when I saw the size of the patty that was placed on the griddle. It was a big bright red pancake of raw ground beef that indicated a surprising degree of freshness. Definitely a burger spot to remember when you are around the USC/South Los Angeles area . . .
At first, it may seem hard to imagine a 1/2lb double cheesburger for under $6 being called a “sleeper” on the menu, but such is the case at Fat Sal’s where getting fat isn’t just easy, it’s kind of creative. Fried mozzarella sticks on a sub? Genius. But so is this burger . . .
Years ago a dear friend explained that burgers fall into one of two camps: “restaurant burgers” and “everything else“. This was a time when chefs weren’t tweaking burgers of convenience like what Andre Guerrero does at the Oinkster or when gastropubs miraculously brought beef back onto our dinner plates during the recession of 2008 with the advent of the $10 and up burger. The Park is very much a “restaurant burger” since it is served at a restaurant that also happens serves many other things like curried cauliflower and duck confit. It also slings these solid bovine sandwiches for $5 bucks on Wednesday nights. Needless to say Bang needed to check out the action . . .