The Golden State is one of those places that have been on my to-dine list for the longest time. I just don’t go out to that area much anymore (probably due to painful memories from high school – not really; just lazy). So when Han made me run an errand for him in the area during my lunch time a couple of weeks ago, it was a good opportunity to cross what supposedly houses one of the best burgers in the city off the list. Not the optimal time to try The Golden State (since I wasn’t going to drink on a working day lunch), but at least the place wasn’t busy.
Since everyone loves comparisons (especially me), I would compare The Golden State’s burger to a more economical version of the one offered at Rustic Canyon, with the interior and vibe being that of a less pretentious Father’s Office. But don’t let the “negative” connotations fool you – the burger here definitely stands up to the two burger havens. On a brioche bun, this 1/3 lb. patty came with white cheddar, bacon, arugula, and a smidge of ketchup. Got it medium-rare obviously.
I thought that the griddled patty could’ve used a bit more char, but the patty was beefy and juicy. Somewhat messy, but nowhere near the greasy mess that the burger was at Rustic Canyon. White cheddar was sharp, bacon didn’t overshadow the star, and arugula was a nice contrast. The broiche bun was on the thicker side (notice the bottom bun especially), but proved to be a nice vessel. Fries? Not bad, but not a necessity. They have other sides like sweet potato fries and coleslaw that might be worth trying on future visits.
Not a perfect burger, but can compete with the top dogs for sure. The burgers at Rustic Canyon and The Golden State are like the Lopez twins (NBA players for those not basketball-familiar). One is the more talented and highly-regarded one; the other more of an everyday workhorse. The talented one periodically underachieves and gets hurt, while the lesser one just keeps on churning. That’s how I see The Golden State’s burger: a bougie burger for the everyday man ($11 – includes side) that always comes to work prepared.
Chris Hei grade: B+
The Golden State
426 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036