2.5.12

Go Burger

Go Burger might well win the prize of most ostentatious burger joint exterior in Los Angeles. It's on the corner of Sunset and Vine, a very major intersection where this very tragic incident happened recently.


Hollywood is a town where big ideas and bold dreams come to die. It's also a place where lunatics come to work out their demons - it's been that way for about 80 years. It's a big, fairly ugly, desperate town that's built on pretty unstable foundations of fantasy and folklore. But in that seamy culture there lies something deeply compelling and deeply human. Sometimes, hanging out in bars and restaurants in Hollywood, you get a real sense of the depth of the vaguely innate American thirst for fame and fortune. It's not always pleasant, but it's always compelling.

However, Hollywood has been undergoing serious gentrification for about ten years (twenty, depending on to whom you speak). Fancy apartments going up, lines of restaurants owned by curious far flung, often foreign investment companies. Hollywood is starting to look awfully clean and is becoming a kind of nice place to live. It's about eight paces behind Culver City, which also used to be a home to a hundred thousand heartbreaks, but the kind of heartbreaks that never dreamed of anything but heartbreaks. Now it's a yuppies paradise.

Why am I giving you a history of Hollywood? Well, because Go Burger is sort of indicative of what's wrong with this gentrification (which isn't a bad word in my eyes - it often means safer, cleaner, more progressive communities). Whereas, Go Burger is about as heartless as they come - a sit-down burger joint attempting to cash-in on the gourmet burger craze that's probably just ebbing away now as people, like us, start to wonder if burgers can ever really be considered 'gourmet' (how fancy can it really get?!).

Go Burger has huge signs on its busy intersection and I get the feeling that they are hoping they can rely on a steady stream of first-time customers in the form of tourists and people who just drove by one day wondering 'hmmm, wonder what their burgers are like'. They are owned by E Squared Hospitality, which runs BLT Steak in New York City. Just to give you an idea of what E Squared are like, they have a Lin Burger at the NYC joint. They are cashers-in on crazes, methinks, but so low in taste (both gustatory and sociologically) that I wouldn't put it past them to have launched a Tyler Brehm burger on the day after the above incident.

It was hard to choose which burger was truly their 'Signature' burger. Usually we decide that if there's a titular burger, ie. 'The Go Burger', we go with that one. But if not, we go for the simplest burger. On this occasion, that was the Backyard Burger.

Needless to say, we didn't love this burger. I mean, look how sad and pathetic it looks!  The meat tasted fine, but there was basically nothing in there but meat and bread, which is not good enough for $13. Yes, $13!

But the joint is just upsetting. It's got no soul, or character, on any contrivances towards the same. The music veered wildly in quality and tone - one moment they were playing 1920s jazz, the next they were playing horrible house music. There's a wall on the way to the bathrooms that people have signed. I don't know why and I don't know what that means. But I don't care.

The fact is, if Hollywood is to remain a dream-killing, soul-destroying place, people have to have souls and dreams to begin with and this is not the stuff of which dreams are made.

Meatiness - 3
Succulentiousness - 2
Flavor - 3
Bun - 3
Stay Togetherness - 5
Joint - 1

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