You know those times, when you see a burger from across the room and think to yourself, ‘Wow, that thing is gorgeous. I could spend the rest of my burger eating days with that one?’
Well, sadly this is not one of those times…
But this is a burger you could spend a night with!
Hole In The Wall, Burger Joint – Santa Monica, CA
Now before we go any further, I should tell you the plain truth: Hole In The Wall, Burger Joint is great. But it is a build-your-own burger joint; meaning, it’s hard to write a poor review of something that I created, because I obviously know what I enjoy. Thus, when you read this review, make sure to pay attention to the low-key points of importance (i.e. freshness, price, and taste).
Menu Name: Custom ($9.95)
- Brioche Bun
- Ground Beef
- Provolone Cheese
- Chipotle Aioli
So at this point, I don’t think many of us are going to be newcomers to the build-your-own burger joint’s…
But, for those who may be rookie’s in the burger game: A “BYOB Joint”, is a type of burger-eatery that allows the purchaser to select what ingredients he/she would like on his/her burger. The customer is able to select these ingredients from a list provided by the establishment. Sometimes ranging from an eclectic array of items, the lists vary depending upon location. But it is the freshness of the ingredients in the byob-game, that are the key to creating a successful burger.
And by the gods, did HITW Burger Joint hit a home-run with their attentiveness to the quality and freshness of their products. All of the ingredients used in the burger were fantastic. Initially the bacon hadn’t looked very appetizing, yet it pulled a fast one on my taste buds and turned out to be great. The ground beef was properly cooked, and buttered to a T(ouchdown – sorry, it’s fantasy football season).
Little DFB-Insider Secret: If you’re worried about your burgers being dry due to over-cooking… Cut at tiny hole, and let some butter melt into the cooked patty. It’s absorbed by the beef on the interior and adds the moist flavor you were looking for.
The provolone was good, but only for the first bite (See picture above). Now we all know provolone has a very subtle flavor compared to other cheeses. Thus knowing this, I prepped myself and understood, that I would taste it seldom during the bite.
But what I had not prepared myself for was the onslaught of butter from not only the patty, but the bun as well! I’m a fan of buttered burgers. The butter adds a sweetness to the burger that isn’t the same as slathering it on to the bun. But to have buttered both the buns and patty was overkill. It completely blocked out the taste of the cheese.
Not realizing that I would be receiving a heavily buttered burger, I threw a chipotle-aioli on top of it all! But damn, that chipotle aioli was delectable. Paired with the bacon and patty, it was a team that even the Justice League would be intimidated by.
Less butter next time, guys.
However, each bite crumbled in your mouth and left your face with a smile. The remaining issue though, lies in the price. The burger only comes with the options of lettuce, red-onions, tomatoes, and relish for free. The rest of the normal toppings were $1.00 each (Applewood Smoked Bacon, Avocado, Fried Egg, Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions). And I can’t believe they charge $1.00 for sauteed onions… That should be standard.
Yes, the ingredients taste fresh. Yes, you are running a business. But when you’re paying $14.17 for a burger and fries without a drink at a “burger-joint” style establishment lacking table service, it’s just too much. And although the burger was definitely sufficient in size, the amount of fries could’ve at least reached the rim of the carton.
Here’s the real problem: It’s the style of establishment. They sacrifice unique combos and ingredients, for the customers freedom of choice. They trade the “truffle-aioli burger with sauteed mushrooms, grilled onions, swiss cheese, with wild rocket arugula” for basic ingredients they can afford to purchase in bulk. And with that freedom of choice, one lacks the ability to eat a masterpiece. Which is the only way I really enjoy eating burgers.
Leave it to the Chef’s, people.
A couple side notes: The house-made ranch was unique in flavor combining mayonnaise, sour cream, buttermilk, dill, parsley, onion, dijon, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sound like a lot of flavor? Well it was, but it strangely worked. The fries looked like a skinny-fry’s chubby older brother. A bit thicker then a general skinny, it was fried well and seasoned appropriately with salt and pepper.