Thursday, April 10, 2008
Pug Burger Fails to Impress
Here's a quickie report on our burger club outing to Hungry Cat.
You can order the famous pug burger two ways -- with or without a fried egg on top. It comes with bacon, avocado and blue cheese, all of which you can get on the side.
The verdict: above average but Houston's still reigns.
I had it without the egg and set aside the bacon that I consider a distraction from the purity of a good burger. I can have the bacon separately as a side but not as an integral part of the burger when I bite into it.
An overall very tall burger that's hard to eat. Translation: expect smears on your face and stains on your clothes.
The patty: texture was a bit pasty and not as flavorful and glossy as Houston's.
The bun: ciabatta bread was an interesting alternative but it was too thick and dense for me to finish. Super-soft, classic sesame-sprinkled buns are the way to go.
The fixins: I prefer arugula to red lettuce leaf (better for wrapping kalbi!) and the red onions and avocado were fine. I should disclose that I'm not a huge fan of blue cheese so had to scrape off some of it because it overpowered the patty, as did the bacon. I enjoyed stealing tiny bites of the bacon strips between massive burger bites, however.
The fries: underwhelming. They were lukewarm to cold and had obviously been fried one too many times and drenched in oil so tasted a bit stale and not very fresh. Also oversalted.
Soup: we had the smoked haddock chowder with yukon gold potatoes, leeks and bacon. Wrong choice if you're having a burger afterwards because it is so incredibly salty. The smoked haddock is already salty and with the bacon, it's sodium overload.
Dessert: Hungry Cat mildly redeemed itself with its chocolate bread and butter pudding, which was delightfully decadent and delicious. Not too sweet and sufficiently chocolate-y without being too rich. The chocolate beignets, on the other hand, were a dud.
We went to the original Hollywood location but it also has a Santa Barbara branch.
The place was packed and reservations on weekends are a must, which led me to wonder whether we had simply ordered the wrong things. Maybe we will try its seafood offerings next time, but I won't be having the pug burger anytime soon. For the same price of $16, I would take Houston's California burger any day. Trying it with the fried egg is tempting but truthfully, I could try that at home. Those who had the burger with the fried egg liked it.
Next stop: Weiland Brewery in Little Tokyo. We need a cheap eat to temper the Hungry Cat meal ticket.
1535 Vine Street
Los Angeles, CA 90028