Damp. Sloppy. Messy. But more good than bad in his Hollywood burger…
Here’s the name, explaining the point of difference for the burger chefs at 25 degrees:
“Named after the precise temperature difference between a raw and well-done hamburger, 25 Degrees introduces a sophisticated twist on the traditional American burger bar. At 25 Degrees, we not only emphasize the importance of quality hamburgers, but we also serve up an unrivaled experience- complete with chic décor, playful servers and a stream of funky tunes.”
The beef burger meat is apparently ground sirloin, though turkey, tuna and veggie burgers were also on offer alongside a variety of other bits of SoCal Americana, including Grilled Cheese and Kale salads.
There are only four ‘pre-assembled’ beef burgers on the menu – names one through four – though you can have any combination of toppings you want custom assembled.
I went for number 1 – gorgonzola cheese, thousand island sauce, grilled onions and crispy bacon, as it was the closest to my more or less reviewer’s standard of a bacon cheeseburger, and I figured it’d give an authentic experience of how the chefs here like to see their burgers assembled. I was asked how I wanted it done, and opted for medium rare as that seems to be the going standard in this part of the world.
The meat of it
The 8oz behemoth makes an impression. This is a BIG BURGER. It has to be coaxed out of the wrapping, and then it flopped onto the plate, trailing juice and thousand island sauce that had come away with moisture from the resting meat. The bottom half of the brioche bun was completely sodden and the burger was practically unhandlable. The thousand island sauce also made the burgery slippery, and it fought for freedom as I sliced it in half.
The cross section cut showed the problem. Whilst the loosely packed, coarse ground patty (with what must have been at least a 25% fat ratio) had been cooked to perfection, the meat/bread ratio was far off sensible. And the saucey toppings took things further out of control; a surfeit of gorgonzola cheese bled onto the plate and grilled onions were flying out with every bite. The bacon, not as generously delivered as the onions or cheese, fails to deliver textural contrast throughout the burger – it just doesn’t have enough coverage. And the arugula (rocket for the uninitiated) adds very little to the overall impact of the burger.
That said, the burger taste itself was not bad – the meat was well seasoned and had a dry-aged funkiness to it that only high quality meat does. The bacon – when it was present – added a delicious salty crunch. The bun and onions contributed a sweetish undertone to what would otherwise have been a very salty burger. The burger’s moistness played really well for mouthfeel. It would just have been better a couple of ounces lighter and the toppings could have been better thought through.
As for the sides… we ordered a half-n-half onion-ring / fries combo for $7.50. The onion rings were extraordinary. Well seasoned with a light heat, the first bite delivered a wonderful savory crunch… soon followed by a sweet aftertaste as you chewed the onion. The fries were just OK – rosemary and salt on thin cut McDonald’s style fried that weren’t all as fully cooked as they should have been.
$2 bought a selection of sauces; we chose BBQ (American BBQ is sweeter than its British counterpart, and this lacked any other personality to speak of), Chipotle and spicy Aioli. We honestly couldn’t tell the last two apart, both tasted like mildly spicy mayonnaise. But they were good.
FYI – my brother had a grilled cheese ((over-thick brad and under-melted cheese) and soup, and his wife had a salad. We did a good amount of sharing to get through it all.
Monkey finger rating
Bun – 3/5
Build – 3/5
Burger – 3.5/5
Taste – 4/5
Sides – 4/5
Value – 3/5 – $17 for a burger with no fries is excessive, even for the standards of the West Coast..
Burger rating – 3.5/5 – Like many here, this burger is more than the sum of its parts.
This restaurant is in the base of the Roosevelt Hotel, 7000 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. You can’t miss it -we walked in on a busy Saturday afternoon and got a booth to ourselves.