By Valentina Silva
If there’s one thing to be proud of as an Angeleno, it’s our burger heritage. Let the New Yorkers and Chicagoans ridicule our pizza. We can take it because neither can touch the prevalence of good burgers in L.A. Not even close. You can get a fine burger fix in almost any pocket of our fair city. Heck, maybe the whole county – even Norwalk, the none-too-culinary suburb where I grew up, has at least three decent charbroil places that I can think of.
We’re blessed with burgers.
There is one place, however, where it is hard to find one: Café Stella. That’s because their rather perfect burger is only on the bar menu. And if you’ve ever been to the Silver Lake restaurant at night, then you know that it’s not exactly easy to snag a seat in the teeny bar. I would say it’s worth the trouble, though. It’s also worth begging for if you end up in the main dining room.
The Stella bar burger ($14) is served on a wooden board, along with ketchup, Dijon mustard and aioli. The bun is toasted on the grill until crispy but is still soft enough to collapse onto the burger once you pick it up. There’s no cheese to be seen, which would normally be an issue for me, but the Roquefort that’s mixed into the beef is very satisfying, adding a kick while doing its part to keep the patty moist and dripping-ly juicy. A sweet roasted tomato, grilled onions and butter lettuce are also in the mix.
I add a bit of all the sauces to my burger, but I reserve most for the big cone of thin and crispy herbed french fries, which are part of the deal. If you want to take it to the limit, you can have them doused in truffle oil. I know I would if I were you.
Valentina Silva is a regular contributor writing about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her new blog, Eastside Food Bites.
Photo by Valentina Silva