I generally disregard those “Top 10 Sushi Restaurants!” lists without so much as a glance; in Seattle, for many years running, the “best” sushi was a highly Americanized, overpriced restaurant that no one we knew went to. Of course, then word about our sushi joint got out and forever after there was at least an hour wait — even on weekdays — we were infuriated.
On the other fork, my all-time favorite Seattle restaurant came recommended by way of an article interviewing a local chef who was asked, “Where do you look forward to eating out at?” and his answer was a then-unknown¹ little strip-mall Vietnamese restaurant on the edge of the International District.
And then we have the Great Debates. What makes a perfect pizza²? Well, depends on where you are from, what kind of budget you’re working with and whether or not you’re a moron. What makes the perfect sushi? Well, that’s a little easier, but just as open to argument; fresh fish is inarguable, but once you start to get into the $100+ a person type shit, well, it can only taste so good and then you’re paying for performance.
And then we come to the humble hamburger.
Any native Californian will give a range of “best” hamburgers around Los Angeles, including but not limited to In-n-Out, Apple Pan, Pie ‘n Burger, Tommy’s, and Fatburger. Almost never listed is Astroburger.
The avocado burger of my dreams.
While I can only vouch for the West Hollywood location, it’s the heartiest vouch I’m capable of making. The week before I first went, there was a late-night stabbing in front of a restaurant full of people, and I said to Mike, “Mike, we gotta go to that Astroburger place.”
I like how I’m closing my eyes to bite, like a python.
And fuck whatever the place looks like, the burger is lord here. With a charbroil grill behind the counter and a menu suspiciously long menu (pastrami burger? breakfast burrito?), Astroburger cranks out the most consistently excellent burger and fries I’ve ever had. I can’t even bring myself to try anything else on the menu, I’m just so happy to have a good burger.
And when they add the extra dollar for the avocado? You get the avocado. I mean, I hope you really like avocado. Oh, and I lied when I said I never ordered anything else: I gave the onion rings a shot and found them lacking, though locals seem to love them. I just can’t get behind a breaded ring, you know what I mean? I’m a battered girl, through and through.
¹It has since become outrageously popular, raised prices (several times) has expanded and renovated within 3 years of first opening and the owners have started a second restaurant. A somewhat off-putting state of affairs, but as long as they keep making their own weird, addictive version of bánh khọt then I will continue to eat them, no matter what the cost.
²For the record: Angelenos have no fucking idea what makes the perfect pizza.April 24th, 2009 | Eatin' Fancy