Stout (Studio City, CA)

Reviewed by: Kevin

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I would guess Stout in Studio City, CA is so named because their aim is to provide patrons with formidable burgers and robust beers paired excellently. Seeing as how there is an entire family of beers named “Stout”, beer is where I’ll start!

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I did not get a “Stout” beer. I can barely drink a mimosa without getting tipsy, so I opted for something a little more lightweight-friendly. Our waitress had a handful of beers in mind to be paired with each burger. You read that correctly – just as the fancy people who try to convince me that wine doesn’t taste like dirty mop-water like to pair different wines with their meals, Stout has committed to pairing different types of beers with each of their unique burgers. In my case, I was suggested a Chouffe Biere Du Soleil. If you don’t know what that means, that’s ok! Neither did I! But it was fruity and a little sweet, and it totally worked with my burger. The beer portion of my evening was a wild success.

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So if the beer was so perfectly paired, the burger must have really worked too, right? Yeah, I suppose so. I ordered The Six Weeker, topped with brie, arugula, caramelized onions, and fig jam. And while the fig jam was my jam, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was just another gourmet burger. There was nothing about it that excited me. The patty itself was ok, if under-seasoned. The toppings worked well together, but I had no Wow Moment. Stout’s burger was pretty good, but ultimately it was just another stop on the LA Burger Tour. I have no complaints, but LA has a lot to offer, and Stout just impactful enough to draw me back in.

Final Verdict: Stout has decent burgers and exceptional beers, but if you’re in Studio City, there’s an Umami Burger down the street. Just go there instead.

flavor

Burger Flavor:  3/5

bunBun Goodness: 3/5

valueBurger Value: 2/5

toppingsToppings: 3/5

xfactorX Factor: 4/5

3star
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Burger Up (Nashville, TN)

Reviewed by: Kate

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I have heard rave reviews about Burger Up located in Nashville’s 12th South since it opened in 2010, but there was always something that kept me from trying one of their burgers myself. I had heard their burgers were pricey, and as a college student my budget was tight. Then in 2012 Burger Up temporarily closed to deal with a family crisis. I decided it was time I give them a try back in December (especially since I was starting this blog!), and I have since been back more recently.

Both times I have gone, there has been a wait, which I expected from such a popular burger joint. I didn’t mind waiting, but the problem was there isn’t a good place to wait. There are a few small benches outside, but waiting inside isn’t really an option unless you want to feel like you are staring at people while they are trying to eat. In fact, although I like the modern and eclectic atmosphere, it just felt a little claustrophobic. The tables are really close together; it’s hard to even walk through the restaurant.

Both times I’ve been I ordered the Black and Blue Burger, which consisted of a beef patty topped with crumbled blue cheese, blackening seasoning, red onion, and arugula. It was delicious! The arugula and crumbled blue cheese complimented each other really well. Burger Up only uses local farmers to supply their meat, so the quality of their beef is really good.

Although the beef was high quality, the toppings were really fresh, and the meat itself was seasoned really well, I do have some complaints. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that meat:bun ratio is really important to me. There was way too much bun for this patty. In fact, the patty should have been bigger in my opinion. The first time I ate at Burger Up I left feeling slightly hungry. I don’t have a huge stomach to begin with, so that says something! I mentioned earlier that before going to Burger Up I had heard their burgers were pricey. They range from $9-$13, which really is pretty typical for a gourmet burger place. I am willing to pay that much for a good burger, but not when I leave hungry.

As a side note (pun intended), I was disappointed in their sides. The first time I went I ordered the sweet potato fries. They were cut pretty thick, and weren’t consistently cooked.  The second time I went to Burger Up I decided to try their fried vidalia onion tower (aka onion rings). There was too much breading on the onion rings, and I just wasn’t interested in eating them. My friend ordered the truffle fries, and she gave me a few to try. They were ok, but I wasn’t impressed. 

I really wish I could give Burger Up a better review. I would definitely recommend it to a friend, it just didn’t end my search for the best burger in Nashville.

flavor

Burger Flavor:  4/5

bunBun Goodness: 3/5

valueBurger Value: 3/5

toppingsToppings: 5/5

xfactorX Factor: 3/5

4star

Slater’s 50/50 (Pasadena, CA)

Reviewed by: Kevin

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One of the greatest disappointments of my life was the movie Cowboys and Aliens.  Few movie trailers grab my attention the way Cowboys & Aliens did.  And rightfully so – we’re talking about Daniel Craig, as a cowboy, blowing up spaceships!  There was no way it wasn’t going to be great.  And then it came out, and it wasn’t great.  I mean it was ok, I guess, but I don’t go see movies because I like to shrug and search for half-hearted compliments.

In the same way, I had this review basically written before I went to Slater’s 50/50 in Pasadena, CA.  I mean, a burger made of half beef, half bacon?  There’s no way this won’t be extreme and delicious.  I was ready to draw a sweeping comparison to the band Fun., using the bold exuberance of the song Some Nights as an illustration of what makes a Slater’s burger great.  This burger would be fearless and brash, and that’s why I was supposed to love it.

But I didn’t love this burger.  It didn’t feel risky, or audacious, or even a little Fun..  It was the Cowboys & Aliens of burgers, and it left me shrugging and wanting.

I created my own burger with the 50/50 patty (obviously) on a brioche bun with mozzarella, arugula, jalapenos, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and fried pickles.  It sounded delicious on paper, and it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t without flaw, either.  The friend pickles were good in theory, and if each pickle hadn’t slid out of it’s breaded casing, I probably would have loved it.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

The patty itself was cooked a tad unevenly.  Some parts were delicious and bacon-y, but there were too many spots where the patty had burned for me to fully enjoy it.  And, as I’ve already stated, the outrageous-sounding bacon-ness of the patty was less “ridiculous-tasting” and more “balanced breakfast-tasting.”  Not bad, but not what I had hoped for.

There were some great things about Slater’s, however.  In particular, they had a variety of creative, fantastic sauces.  The bacon ketchup was bangin’ and I particularly enjoyed the pumpkin sauce they served with my sweet potato fries.

In the end though, perhaps my expectations were set too high.  But every burger should be cooked to impress, and impressed I was not.

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flavor

Burger Flavor:  2/5

bunBun Goodness: 3/5

valueBurger Value: 2/5

toppingsToppings: 2/5

xfactorX Factor: 2/5

2star

Fido (Nashville, TN)

Reviewed by: Kate

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If there is anything Nashville is NOT lacking in, it’s coffee shops. In fact, that’s one of my favorite things about this city. There are plenty of locally owned coffee hang outs, and all of them are unique. One of my favorite local hang outs is Fido.  I spent many late nights in college hanging out at this coffee shop while working on one of many design projects.

You are probably wondering why I am writing about a coffee shop on a burger blog, right? I mean, who goes to a coffeeshop to get a burger? Well, Fido is not JUST a coffeehouse. As it’s website describes it, “Fido blurs the line between coffeehouse and restaurant.” Fido is known just as much for their food as they are for their coffee. I have lived in Nashville for almost 4 years now, hung out in Fido countless times, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized they have “The Local Burger”. One of my good chums, Jessie, was visiting Nashville a few weeks back, and we found ourselves killing time at Fido. It was around dinner time, so we decided to get something to eat. When I saw they had a burger, I obviously had to try it.

The Local Burger uses local meat, as the name suggests (always a plus on my list). It features local beef and lamb topped with Tennessee cheddar, caramelized fennel, fig aioli, fried onion, pickle, lettuce all on a bun. Man, oh man was it delicious!  The flavors of the beef and lamb complimented each other very well, and all of the toppings were fresh and added so much to the overall burger experience. The burger was served with a fig aioli sauce on the side, which I personally appreciated because I was a little weary of it.  I had nothing to worry about though, because the aioli sauce was delicious.

The burger comes with your choice of side, so I got the “amazing fries”. Their name did not disappoint! They were thin, crispy fries- fried to perfection. They were the perfect compliment to this delicious local burger, but they tasted especially good dipped in the fig aioli sauce.  As Jessie described perfectly, “the unexpected kick of the aioli dipping sauce coupled with the satisfying crunch of the amazing shoestring cut fries provided the perfect balance to this hardy, yet sophisticated local burger.”

If you are ever in Nashville looking for a good burger, don’t let the coffehouse atmosphere of Fido make you judge their burger too quickly. It’s definitely worth a try!

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flavor

Burger Flavor:  4/5

bunBun Goodness: 3/5

valueBurger Value: 3/5

toppingsToppings: 5/5

xfactorX Factor: 4/5

4star