Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Burger Lounge: The true BK Lounge or In&out wannabe (SD)

My eating buddy Matt recently moved into the high-rent district area of La Jolla off Prospect, with an apartment that overlooks the La Jolla Shores. So he called me to come over and grab a bite to eat. In my mind Prospect + bite to eat = $$$. To my surprise there are actually quite a few surprises in La Jolla Village for "cheap" (cheaper) eats. There's no Pho or $4.99 take out chinese, but there are quite a few decent selections for under $12 dollars.

The first place we went to was the Burger Lounge. A hip restaurant where the pretty and the rich of La Jolla can tell their friends "Oh My Goodness Becky I TOTALLLYYY had a hamburger today it was just like In&Out. Aren't I so ghetto fab? *hehe* *toss hair*".. *runs off to get a DUI*. Of course being in La Jolla this can't actually be a "ghetto" hamburger eatery, it has to be something much much more than that.

The Burger Lounge is a sterile looking, loud music bumping, sidewalk eating hamburger joint with cute serving plates. There isn't much space for eating inside, just a few simple counters alaSodapop shop.

You'll notice that the menu itself is rather limited, this is truly the perfect escape for the rich to say they had a hamburger without having to eat all the processed garbage from a fast food restraurant.
You have the requisite burger made from grass fed local cows, a turkey burger cause ya know.. that's healthy and we always want to eat healthy, a veggie burger (?? never understood the point of these), some fried chicken fingers, and some salad. They offer french fries and onion rings separately or together.

I myself ordered a hamburger with the works, grilled onions as well as regular onions with extra tomatoes and lettuce animal style. Wait.. we're not at In&Out. Stratch the Animal style. As well as a 1/2 and 1/2 (ff and onion rings).

Matt is on his "i dont want carbs" diet , the same one where he doesn't order waffle fries at Chick-Fil-A but orders THREE (yes 3) Chick Fil A sandwiches instead, so he just gets a burger and a milkshake.
Supposedly some of the best milkshakes in town.. and at $4.95 I say they better damn near well be. (Two milkshakes are pictured here, one for Matt one for Cassandra, I was healthy and had a Root beer =P) But... they weren't.

After you place your order they give you a nice sturdy metal placard with your number and a french girl who can barely speak english delivers you your food. Some confusion came about due to this language barrier. Do not worry , she may not speak English but she has plenty of friends that like to pull up to the side of the restaurant and blare "I'M A BARBIE GIRL". Apparently they didn't learn in Europe that the song was SoOOooOo last year.

Keeping to the whole sterile, too cool for school motiff my burger came like this.
A beautiful onion bun , with a plate reserved normally for appetizers at Nine-Ten. And do you see what's super duper cute? my fries and onion rings are in a take out container! How fun is that? (just a lil bit).
The fries and onions rings seem to have the same batter/seasoning. Salt with parsley and probably nice bits of garlic. They were both very crispy and actually very enjoyable. They were so fresh and pipping hot out of the oil that the fries actually burnt the inside of my cheek and I couldn't appreciate fully my experience in Berkeley's Ghetto Gourmet (Roar!).

You'll notice a plentiful amount of grilled onions on the burger , very fresh very delicious. My biggest problem with the condiments on this burger was the lettuce. A very boring piece of iceberg lettuce. If you're going to change me $7 for a hamburger at least make it NOT LOOK LIKE AN IN AND OUT BURGER. Put in some Red Leaf Butter lettuce maybe? I mean the hamburger already has thousand island dressing. Does In&Out know you're infringing on their trademark hamburger? You can put your burger in a fancy spancy onion bun (which was delicious by the way) but the burger has the same thin piece of beef, small slice of tomato, and crappy piece of lettuce that ALWAYS falls out of the burger.

There was barely any sauce in the burger, so you're really tasting alot of the bun, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Notice how I didn't mention the flavor of the patty??
You can't mention the flavor if there is no flavor. you'd think that when you pick up a burger and the juices are dripping out of it , there'd be some reminiscence of juicy flavors.

Oh no, not in this case. The meat patty is way too thin to hold any flavor in. It tastes like really lean ground beef which is great and healthy but apart from there there was nothing.
I'm not quite sure about my experience here. From the tone of my post you probably think I don't like it, but i'm still very much up in the air. I didn't think the patty itself had enough flavor, but I really liked the onions, the bun, and the fries. I devoured the thing so it probably can't be half bad.
Matt really liked his burger, so it could have just been me.

So give it a shot!

Burger Lounge
1101 Wall St
La Jolla, CA 92037

there was this crazy seagull just chilling in the street daring cars to hit it. It would run up to the sidewalk whenever a fry fell and then would hurry back into the middle of the road. When the traffic became too heavy it decided to claim its stake on the neighboring car's hood.


caroline said...

Clay, this looks really good! Yum! I love me some seasoned fries and onion rings! but ouch. That's just too expensive. I feel confident in my In-N-Out experience - it's already "healthier" than McDonald's so I happily feed it to my 3 year old once a week. :)

Next time I'm in La Jolla, I'll go check it out. Thanks for the great review!

Lotus said...

Hee hee, very funny and clever! You're right about lettuce; it almost seems unnecessary in a burger..

imTSENsational said...

That burger really does look boring... I was really excited for a gushing review since I need a new burger joint to hit every so often.
(How dare Red Robin take out the Ground Peppercorn Burger?!)

I suppose it might still be worth a shot if the wait for Jack's Grill is too long :P

Keep em coming clayfu.


Charlie Fu said...

Caroline: Their fries and onion rings are great, a lil expensive at $5 for both, but *shrug*.

lotus: oh i need lettuce in mine, just not iceberg if i'm paying $7 =P

roger: Yeah.. typical stuff, nothing absurdly special. But SD doesn't have much in the way of burgers, but we do have alot of Pho!

Anonymous said...

Based on your misrepresentations, "Clayfoot" (too numerous to count) it's clear you wouldn't know a good hamburger if it hit you between the eyes. If your motive is to send your ego laden ignorance about food into the universe, then you have succeeded. Enough already moron, next time you bash a good restaurant, at least take time to check your facts instead of your imagination. These people put a lot of smart work into offering a great product and if you can't appreciate good food, why not write about something you understand like the 2oz commercial beef at in-out. Or the "wonder bread sponge bread its served on. Burger Lounge is damn good, ask the 300+ diners plus that eat there each day. And your Red Leaf Lettuce comment is equally stupid. Red Leaf would wilt into a soggy mess within minutes. Ice Berg works because it is crisp and cold, juxtaposing flavor and texture. Why not mention the fact that the fries and onion rings are hand-made and cooked in transfat free and low cholesterol peanut oil. Why suggest that the fries have garlic when they don't? Why not mention that the house-made vege burger is made from organic Quinoa, (the only grain on the planet that offers 8 essential amino acids, i.e., complete protein. Why say it is an "onion" bun when it is contains no onions.
It is their own recipe and made from scratch with from a combination of whole wheat, unbleached white flours, Blackstrap Molasses and wet cake yeast. There is more effort put into this bun that you put into your review. Finally, why bash the customers who eat there or live in La Jolla? What is the point? Does success trouble you that much? You obviously have too much time on your hands. Why not get a real job for which you are suited like washing dishes in a restaurant. Perhaps you'll learn something about food Mr. Food Blogger.

Anonymous said...

What a lame review. How could you possibly compare this place to in-n-out? Unlike there, the fries are crispy and flavorful, the tasty thousand island dressing is handmade on site, and the veggie burgers are the best on the planet. I wish there were one of these in every neighboorhood, so I wouldn't have to make the drive to La Jolla weekly to get my fix!

Anonymous said...

Spending the week in La Jolla, visiting from Chicago, I had the opportunity to visit Burger Lounge on three different occassions. Just to make a few corrections on the review...The server was from Italy. I knew this due to my numerous conversations with her. She had nothing but positive comments about the management and owners. This establishment is a far cry from In and Out. For example, they truly are creating something that no one else has. My biggest concern and question is when can I be back home and say, "I'll have the lounge burger with half and half?".

Charlie Fu said...

If you're going to pretend you're different people you shouldn't post from the same exact IP Mr. I work/own Burger Lounge

Food Blogger said...

Seem as if "anonymous" (number 1, 2, 3) has a chip on his/her shoulder . . . it's Clayfood's opinion about the food- it's not as if he's claiming it represents every experience at said establishment, just his own. He's free to say what he thought of it and he is completely entitled to it. While respectfully refuting these observations or pointing out errors are warranted (and even encouraged), making personal attacks, such as suggesting that Clayfood should wash dishes, is totally uncalled for, and out of line.

The photos also speak for themselves. People may have varying tastes in food to some degree, but the photos reveal pretty drab food.

Also, seems as if Todd Kroviak of the San Diego CityBeat also classified the burger as being of the In and Out variety.

"And even though my cheeseburger weighed at least a pound with all the accoutrements (fresh-baked bun, American cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion and 1000 Island dressing), it was basically just a larger version of what they serve at In-N-Out."


Travis said...


to Mr. Anonymous:

Your rant brought me to tears with laughter. I just pictured some restaurant owner pissed off that a blogger didn't like his burgers. I understand that you might have an interest (in some form) in this burger place, but don't trash Clayfu for his opinion. Besides your angry rant just destroyed any valuable comments you had to say. You could have pointed out the discrepancies with Clay's facts, and people probably would have listened. Instead you came off as an asshole and actually lended some credibility to Clay's comment on the pretentiousness of the clientèle that frequent the drab overpriced burger establishment.

so here is to you Mr. Anonymous. Raise your glass and drink to the fact that you completely validated everything Clayfu said and accomplished the exact opposite effect to which you intended.

I leave you with this: HA HA HA HA HA. and thank you adding a spark of entertainment to my day.

Alice Q. said...

Wow - I am catching up on blog reading and just saw this - I also posted on my blog that it tasted just like in n out the first time I went there. I've been a few times now and it's been better on subsequent visits, but I only go when b/c it's convenient - it's not that fantastic. And how lame is it that the owner made up comments on your blog!!

Robert said...

Great detective work, Clayfu! I noticed your pointer from your post in Chowhound ... but reading through those comments, the first one I thought, sheesh, that is so obviously someone connected to the restaurant. And then the next two sounded so fake. Anyway I'm with you on the La Jolla attitude so rant away!

Barefoot Plumies said...

Well, I had Burger Lounge on my list to try but I'm not so sure now. Besides, I hate driving into La Jolla. lol! Clayfu as dish washer. Awesome.

Charlie Fu said...

I tried to wash dishes at a restaurant once, but my hands can't take the harsh industrial soap. =P

Anonymous said...

Wow, the "two" Anonymous posts need to at least try not to sound like the restaurant owner/manager. You might as well have used the word "my" in describing your 300 diners and hard working staff.

Here's my review on Chowhound:
"I go to burger lounge occasionally, it's good but pricey for what they serve. But where I live, this is the closest place that offers better than Inn-and-Out, but I+O definitely beats Burger Lounge in value. ;-)"

Bottom line your burgers are nice, but I only go because you and Inn-and-Out are the only two decent burger places 5 minutes from me. You can do better, but thanks for some decent burgers. But I guess it's good enough for La Jolla.

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