3319 W. Sunset Blvd. | Silver Lake, CA 90026 | (323) 928-2963 | hachela.com | Prices: $
By MICHAEL AUSHENKER | Contributing Writer
Living on the Westside, it’s easy to get complacent and forget there’s a whole world of delicious eats on the other side of the 405. As it turns out, there’s a culinary pot of gold awaiting us all the way on the other end of Sunset Boulevard.
Billed as “a New-Age burger stand,” the year-old Modernism-flavored Haché LA eatery (“hache’” referring to a style of ground-meat preparation) has its roots in Irvine, where owner Michael Scheper’s first endeavor, Mick’s Karma Bar, is still thriving on its signature gourmet burgers and strawberry-basil lemonade. Those items, as Haché LA General Manager Tracey Woolfolk explained, are the only carry-over on a new menu alive with items created from scratch on site.
Haché LA has a few more signature items, most prominently Mick’s Triple Cooked Fries ($3.95), a delicious batch of thin Belgian fries that arrives—in pure European fashion—with a side of house-made garlic mayonnaise.
If you’re emotionally attached to pairing your French fries with ketchup, of course they have other condiments. But the combo of these scrumptious fries—which have been boiled, flash fried and fried again—with the garlic mayonnaise is just the bomb!
Another notable creation is the menu of frozen custard desserts. On the night I dined there, they were just introducing their seasonal flavor, Peppermint Bark, to a list that includes Strawberry Cheesecake, Bananas Foster and Vanilla. However, I elected to sample their solid seller, Cookie Butter, which was a great move.
These sweet tooth-satisfying desserts are “frozen to order,” solidified with a blast of liquid hydrogen. My dessert, for example, was crafted from Trader Joe’s cookie butter and chocolate morsels into outstanding buttery decadence.
Sandwiched between a fruit-filled red Sangria ($8 a glass; $22 a pitcher) and this glorious dessert? The meal, of course, which delivers on quality and quantity.
Haché LA is one of those restaurants that has a relatively limited menu, but what they make, they make expertly. The big attraction here? The gourmet hamburgers: 1/3 lb. patties of Angus beef prepared and rotated every four hours before being served in lightly toasted, crusty brioche buns.
Karma Burger ($5.95), simple and delicious, feels like a high-end version of the classic In-N-Out Burger. Draped in warmed-over American cheese (Haché LA doesn’t do cheddar), Karma Burger’s scallions sauce and mouth-watering preparation pushes this experience over the top.
On the other end of the burger spectrum, the Roaring ’40s ($7.50) marries its meat with bleu cheese, caramelized onions, black pepper horseradish, cabbage and Portobello mushrooms for one jazzy meal. The cabbage within this beautifully crafted, well-structured hamburger is almost solely meant to retain the jus from pouring out.
Whatever its function, the end result is a delicious meal: the Angus beef anchoring the experience, the fromage providing arch flavor, the mushrooms counter-programming with a cool, chewy texture.
More burgers that await exploration: Habanero ($6.75) with a four-chili mix, fresh cheese and garlic mayo; Mediterranean ($6.95) topped with a spicy hummus, roasted peppers and feta cheese; and Swiss Onion ($7.45) with Gruyere, caramelized onions and mustard.
In addition to the sweet, aforementioned Strawberry Basil Lemonade (dubbed “The Famous”) ($3), there are other homemade beverages, including an Arnold Palmer and a Mojito Iced Tea ($3), which retains the mint-rum flavor of a Mojito sans alcohol.
Beyond its foodie menu, Haché LA has a solid neighborhood vibe. On the night I ate on the rustic, postmodern patio (replete with heat lamps for chilly winter nights), many of the young, hip locals were nursing shimmering glasses of beer and ale from Haché’s extensive wine and beer list.
Sweetening the deal: the restaurant’s hospitality. Our server Lorraine was very gracious while General Manager Woolfolk is a friendly font of information and anecdotes.
An adjacent lot offers ample free self-parking, so there’s really no excuse not to cross town and experience Haché LA. You’ll definitely feel gratuitously rewarded.