My (Short) Order at Hole in the Wall Burger Joint
I wanted to go to Short Order. I really did. How could I not? First off, it’s a burger joint party conceived by the queen of Mozza. Secondly, I have always wanted to find a decent lunch in the “Original Farmer’s Market” and this seems to be the best shot. And thirdly… did I mention it’s burgers made by Nancy Silverton? Who wouldn’t be excited for this? Answer: nobody. And then I saw the prices. Burgers $11-14. $4 fries. $6 shakes. Not outrageous by any stretch, but not a Midtown Lunch. I’m sure eventually I’ll cave, just like I did for Mozza To Go (I do love a good patty melt), but not this week. So, with burgers on the brain (thanks for that blogosphere!) I decided to burger it up in West L.A. at a place I’ve been meaning to try for almost a year now: Hole in the Wall Burger Joint.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but Hole in the Wall Burger Joint is actually a hole in the wall burger joint. Tucked behind the Winchell’s Donuts on the corner of Sepulveda and Santa Monica, it’s been recommended by a number of Midtown Lunch’ers for their homemade ketchup, their turkey burger, and (of course) their pretzel bun.
You order on a card, ala The Counter, but with far fewer options (thankfully.) Sadly, though, the base price has gone up from $7.95 to $8.95, making add ons (like fried egg, avocado or grilled onions) a luxury that will take the total price over the $10 ML limit if you order more than one. Why did being a cheap bastard have to be written into my DNA?!
The old fashioned bun tasted better than it looked which isn’t a huge surprise since they get their bread from Dolce Forno, the fantastic Culver City bakery that is also used by Mendocino Farms. Burger bun purists might find it a bit too bulky, but burger bun purists probably shouldn’t be at a place known for their pretzel buns. And, it’s kind of necessary considering how big the patty is (8ozs baby!) and how much juice manages to pour out of the burger.
I couldn’t resist going above my budget for the fried egg and grilled onions, you know… for science. Both were nice additions, although if you’re expecting a runny egg you might be disappointed. Then again, a runny egg would have taken this burger from mess to “I need a shower after eating this lunch” territory. Close your eyes and take a bite and Hole in the Wall’s Burger is an absolutely delicious creation. Juicy and super flavorful, I can see why tons of people love it. But if you want to get all geeky about it, it isn’t perfect. The patty I got yesterday had a pre-formed, mealy quality similar to The Counter, and there wasn’t half the crust seen on photos taken by Squid Ink and A Hamburger Day awhile back. Maybe these burgers are best when ordered medium? Or has more than just the price changed? Nitpicking aside, I still managed to finish every last bite of the half pound burger and large bun.
Of course I couldn’t leave without trying the turkey burger on a pretzel bun. If the idea of a turkey burger or a pretzel bun offends you, this one probably won’t change your mind. But it’s a great turkey burger (for a turkey burger) and a great piece of bread. Most importantly the pretzel bun isn’t dry, and it will probably be my go to bun order if and when I make it back to Hole in the Wall.
At $2.75, fries will definitely take you over that $10 limit (even if you share) but they do get extra points for being willing to do half and half. The sweet potato fries were pretty standard, but the medium cut, skin on, regular fries were better than average if you like medium cut skin on fries.
All in all Hole in the Wall is as solid a Westside burger lunch as everybody says. Go in thinking you’re going to get the best burger in L.A. and you’ll probably leave disappointed. Go in with hole in the wall expectations, and you will be more than satisfied- a luxury I doubt Short Order will be afforded.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- I like my burgers gigantic and juicy!
- Big buns don’t offend me. Neither does brioche or pretzel bread. In fact… pretzel bun FTW.
- I love places that have homemade ketchup
- The burger is super tasty and flavoful
- They might have the best turkey burger on the Westside- if such things interest you.
THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- It might be better than The Counter, but I wouldn’t put it up against Umami or Golden State
- I like my burgers medium rare, and their grind is a bit too mealy for that. They also didn’t get enough crust on the outer layer of the patty.
- I hate paying extra for grilled onions. Should be free…
- Those bastards raised the price $1! It might be worth $8, but it ain’t worth $9.
- I really don’t like homemade ketchup. Heinz knows what they’re doing, people.
- I hate big buns (I cannot lie)
Hole in the Wall Burger Joint, 11058 Santa Monica Blvd. 310-312-7013