As we gathered on the patio, the waitstaff struggled to keep track of our constantly-moving group, but we eventually all got our burgers, and what a burger it was. Overall, this is my favorite burger we’ve had this year, but a few others seemed to disagree. In discussing the burger with another BEU’er (rhymes with voyeur, I think), he mentioned that he felt the burger was somewhat uninteresting in its traditional assembly. While I am not prepared to declare myself a hamburger traditionalist, I have a strong appreciation for a well-made classic backyard-style burger. The burger at Fatty’s is at its heart a take on the classic burger. What sets it apart are some very carefully-considered subtle touches. Before I get too into that, though, let’s go through the burger from inside to out.
At the center was a just-right medium rare beef patty. The veggies were a pretty standard tomato slices, grilled onions, and shredded lettuce. The grilled onions were gooey and slightly sweet. I’m not entirely sure what the sauce was, but the consistency sat somewhere between a spread and melted cheese. This was all sandwiched in a glossy, thick brioche bun that was nicely charred on top and then topped with a pickled pepper with a stake through it keeping the burger intact in transit.
The elements of this hamburger themselves are, indeed, pretty basic. The meat is just beef. There are no pungent cheeses or heirloom lettuces. There are no fried eggs or unexpected ingredients. When it comes down to it, the burger at Fatty’s is essentially just patty, tomatoes, lettuce, onions, sauce, cheese, and bun. The assembly and execution, however is where this sandwich really shines.
The meat itself was the star of the show. Excellent fat content, just the right size, and cooked to a perfect deep-pink medium rare. So many restaurants serve medium burgers when I order medium rare that it’s a refreshing change when one gets it just right. Another key was that the chef placed the tomatoes and lettuce under the patty. There, the shredded lettuce mixed in with the white sauce to really glue together the bottom half of the burger, which, as someone who uses the phrase “structural integrity” in the context of sandwiches more than I probably ought to, thoroughly impressed me. The top half was held together with grilled onions and melted cheese.
After this, though, some of the execution breaks down. The bun I got was burnt black on the bottom. I noticed this on a few others’ burgers, too, but it seemed to only happen on those that came out close to the middle of the rush caused by our group, so it may not be fair to judge the burger too harshly on this note. The tomatoes I got were a bit wilted and didn’t offer much to bite into, but others got fresher-seeming tomatoes. Lastly, even with the perfectly-cooked patty, the flavorful sauce, and the veggies, the burger as a whole still tasted a touch tame, which is a shame because that picked pepper expectantly sitting on top would have given this hamburger just the kick it needed chopped up and mixed in with the grilled onions.
I think I will be going back to Fatty’s to have their hamburger again, particularly when the chef is less rushed, and I’ll ask to have the pepper chopped up and added to the burger. If that makes the differences I think it will, I will be pretty confident in recommending the burger at Fatty’s Public House as one of my favorites in LA.
PS: Get the onion rings. HOLY BALLS.
Out of 22 total BEU members in attendance, here’s how Fatty’s Public House fared:
Who would win in a fight?
Hulkamania – 10
Miguelmania – 18