Bang for your Burger Buck: Corner Burger ~ Lawndale
Corner Burger. Lawndale.
Let’s talk about that for a sec.
So unless you work near LAX, get bored with the same old-same old in the South Bay or happen to be in the know for the smokiest & tastiest Chicken Tikka Masala in LA (Al Watan, next door in Hawthorne); you probably have never heard of Lawndale. You probably thought Hawthorne was some show on TNT with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s wife. You need to change that thinking. Cuz Lawndale is bringing a signature burger blend and some serious griddle skills in the world of Bang for your Burger Buck.
The core menu, add ons and of course prices are all familiar territory if your burger escapades have taken you to the likes of Juicy Burger or LA Buns. Tempting are some of the house combos; where the Corner Burger peeps kindly reward you with a multi topping discount that puts cable bundling packages to shame.
But what sang to me, what drew me to look past the rest of this menu’s beefy siren songs was the boldest burger customer challenge I have found to date: the Naked Burger, aka Meat and Bun. Originally billed as a kid-friendly baseline option to add one or two ingredients like ketchup and American cheese; Meat and Bun also represented a sort of Burger Gentlemen’s duel. A gauntlet had been thrown down. Corner Burger challenged me to swear off my usual topping habits of 1000 island, lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion. They scoffed at me for even thinking about cheddar. If I was to retain my Burger honor, I had to order Meat and Bun and see if Corner Burger could rise to the occasion of meat minimalism.
Corner Burger prides itself for using a Brioche bun, not exactly unheard of, but a fresh bun for $5 is always a winner in my book. The blend and the seasoning are where things get interesting at Corner Burger. First off, the grind is terrific here, delivering a chew that is savor worthy and reminiscent of an aged ribeye cap. 81/19 is the meat to fat ratio, a notch leaner from the typical 80/20 but after every bite of this burger, you feel like someone just basted the inside of your mouth with drawn butter. Something about this burger really hits the sweet spot; and there lies the other interesting technique at Corner: they season their patties with sugar. The spice blend is equal parts salt, black pepper and sugar, which makes for a fine beef crust when ordered medium and beyond. But the ringer at Corner Burger is that they bring game to the griddle by serving a burger rare enough to get Hannibal Lecter barreling down the 105.
The cross section pretty much tells the whole story: the bun is so fresh, the patty cooked so legitimately rare that both compromised their structural integrity when cut in half.
Rare burgers are not for everyone, and Corner Burger cooks ‘em however you like, but if you can get down with steak tartare, Corner Burger just scored you a meal of it on a croissant masquerading as a hamburger bun, for $5. Customers at Corner were throwing temps out like a steakhouse, and you can see why – you want rare, you will get it here; because the meat is high quality and the man behind the griddle is on point. And as always, the bottom line speaks the loudest: $5.45 with tax for a Burger served rare enough to keep Blade and those wuss vampires from Twilight satisfied. Killer burger and Vampire repellent? Now that spells Bang for your Burger Buck.
Corner Burger. Lawndale.
Next time we will talk about Hawthorne. No, not the show on TNT.
It’s cancelled anyways.