We’re living in a hamburger golden age, with plenty of L.A.’s leading culinary heavyweights rolling out deluxe hamburgers. Fundamental LA, the five-year-old Westwood restaurant from childhood buddies (and fellow Cal Bears) Woogene Lee and Jeff Faust is categorized as a neighborhood favorite. Now that chef Nick Erven is in the kitchen, they’ve got some new destination dishes, including L.A.’s best new burger.
Erven is humble about the Cheese Burger ($13), which is available at dinner and by request at lunch. He said, “It is my serviceable homage to my favorite greasy spoon burgers.” The Wyoming native is clearly skilled at understatement. The double cheese burger stars twin patties of chuck, brisket and short rib that are rosy at their centers and deliver good chew. The seared patties are piled with sweet caramelized onions, molten American cheese, and Thousand Island dressing on an OC Baking Company brioche bun. What keeps the burger from going overboard into a pool of richness is the addition of pickled mustard seeds to the sauce. May every dish that Erven creates be so serviceable.