I’ll start off by saying Forman’s was alright in my book. I haven’t seen the final numbers, but to me this was a really aggressive “C+”. Did it pass the test? Definitely. But is Forman’s father a bit disappointed? That’s up to you to decide.
Admittedly, my dishing out a mediocre grade isn’t completely based on the food; part of my review and experience is due to the fact that I arrived an hour early. That said, maybe that allowed me to really take in the place and understand Forman’s like no other Beef Eater ever has. Here’s what happened.
- Arrival: By the time I got to Forman’s, the place was empty. I plopped down at a stool and tried to flag down a bartender with little luck despite how vacant the restaurant was. Above the bar the game was on (the game is always on, am I right fellas?). I’m not a big baseball guy but I understand the what’s going on and fancy myself a sports fan. Or so I thought… until I was quizzed by an older patron whose look could only be described as part “cheese burger in paradise”, part “tales of the crypt keeper”. Very spooky.
I was immediately asked if there had been a new rule added to Baseball since he had last watched a game (the gentleman didn’t specify a date). I answered “yes,” and was instantly corrected by the bartender, who had ignored me up until this point when he found an ample opportunity to best me in front of my new, ghoulish friend. “No,” he said. “No there isn’t a new rule, what can I get you?” I forget what exactly I ordered to drink, although I’m sure it didn’t matter much as there was already a bad taste left in my mouth. So far not so good.
- Seating: At many of the BEU outings, seating assignments seem to be a collective Vietnam, a never-ending struggle for comfort that has the capacity to turn the best of us into self-seeking monsters. At Forman’s, this didn’t seem to be much of an issue, as the restaurant reserved a large table for us in the middle of the room. Plenty of space to move around, no one seemed cramped – well done gang, well done.
- Menu – First Glance: There were lots of crunchy buzz-words leading me to believe that there was an artisan quality to the fare. Grilled Cheese with gruyere and sage brown butter? Fra mani ham on a Cuban Sandwich? Who am I, a king? This all sounds majestic and regal to me, although the same level of quality didn’t fully translate to the burger selection and that’s what really counts here. It’s a burger club after all.
There were only three options, which is perfect for someone like me who can’t easily make decisions. That said, these burger flavors were a bit dry and lacked creativity.
Backyard Burger: American cheese, lettuce, tomato, 1000 Island
Please guys, I’m a licensing coordinator and am very, very busy and important. I don’t have time for this lifeless nonsense. Can we please spice it up?
Tavern Burger: Jack Cheese, avocado, arugula, tomato, 1000 Island
Guys. Please. Arugula? That’s the X factor here? Also, “Tavern Burger” is a bit cliché – you can do better than this. You can BE better than this.
Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger: Smoked cheddar, smoked bacon, lettuce, hickory sauce.
This is fine. There’s smoked stuff – the word hickory is crammed in there which doesn’t provide much information yet manages to sound rustic. This should be the plan-B on any other burger menu yet it’s the crown jewel at Forman’s.
I ordered the Hickory Bacon Cheeseburger and prepared to get wild (ish).
- Eating Experience: My order finally came out and I won’t lie, I was excited. After a long day at work and an even longer drive over the hills to Toluca Lake, I was ready to wolf down a mound of meat slapped atop a warm potato bun. Despite my initial reservations, the burger didn’t disappoint. The meat was cooked to perfection, the sauce added a much-needed tang to the dish, and the bacon achieved a perfect balance between making me feel like a garbage person and not fully clogging my arteries. Success! Not to mention the fries were pretty heavenly as well. If I remember correctly, I cleaned my plate and polished off some stragglers left behind by friends. All in all, my stomach was full, my appetite was sated, and I was ready to remove the BEU burger hat from my peanut shaped head and drive back to Historic Filipino town.
- Afterthoughts: Due to my sports embarrassment and prejudice towards the menu, Forman’s faced a bit of an uphill battle. Although, in the face of adversity, they barely came out on top, serving up great food and dare I say a great time. Some friends became enemies, enemies became friends, LinkedIn connections were created and nurtured – a successful outing through and through. Will I tell my kids about this fateful night? Probably not, but I also won’t speak to my children until they are 21 and can run my successful real estate business. Perhaps I’ll stop by for a brew and a burger the next time I’m up north in Toluca Lake – until then Forman’s will be a warm memory stuffed in a distant and lost file cabinet in my mind.
Out of 55 people in attendance, here’s how Forman’s fared:
TLC beat out Destiny’s Child (very, very overwhelmingly) in the “Who would win in a fight?” category.
Liz Rogers: Cool spot! Good service, great fries!
Al Sgro: Bomb!
binks: SUPER LEGIT. Errythang tasted super grilled and delicious. It almost made me forget the excitement of Jason Priestley being here. Can we get a pic of him in the burger hat? P.S. RSVPing means you care. Thanks for not being Richards everyone.
Patrick Clancy: Oh man…those fries. Those beautiful garlic/parm fries!
Kayla Masnek: Garrett told me to write something witty or clever.
Garrett McElver: This burger is #1! (Whatever Kayla said is a lie)
Liana G.: Mmmm…good burger!
Koichi: Finally!! Proper medium-rare! #pink
Travis Holcombe: The burger melted in my mouth. At times I wasn’t even sure if I was getting a burger bite or not.
Jackie Shuman: A line out the door?! Running out of chairs?! Where am I? Hollywood?
Brayden: Jason Priestley was not stoked to be there.
Paul Rocha: Decent burger, felt like it was lacking a bit in the flavor department. The fries were super tasty!
Hafter: Chewey bun was weakest link. Crispy bacon! Good flavor to burger – right ratio of greasy to pleezy.
Jess Ruoti: This election season, we need to elect a qualified burger candidate. I personally met this burger candidate and I believe it to be meaty and delicious.
Sarah Scarlata: They forget to kill the cow if you order anything less than medium-well. If I didn’t order those perfectly seasoned fries, I’d be questioning if they have heating elements in the kitchen.
Geoff Siegel: I like this place. Thought the burger was tasty. But they fucked up the heat. Burger was raw.
Brad Henson: Solid burger! Great bacon and great BBQ sauce, good combo of sweet and spicy. The sauce was great but I could have used less, the bun got soggy quick.
Jamin M.: I asked for the buger medium-rare and it was nice and bloody, maybe even undercooked…perfect. The bun was really good, but it could have been a bit toastier.
TVP: “She’s a pig!” – Donald Trump
Michael Persh: I wanted to like it! Oy.
Jax: I’ve had the tavern burger for lunch and it was far better tonight waaaay undercooked – too much of a rush or nerves? Too bad cuz it coulda been a contenda!
Anon: The universal sentiment in my internal poll was that all burgers were undercooked (med-well = medium, med-rare = rare, etc)
Peter Wade: #Swerlk! TLC is down 1 member or I would have voted for them to win. So far the best burger of the season…for real tho.