Go Burger plays with original recipes


We live in a post-burger world.

The humble burger is not just a humble burger anymore. It’s a statement, a blank canvas, a form of nostalgia and an American comfort food.

Classic and innovative ideas bump shoulders constantly in Los Angeles, and burgers are no exception.

Burger bar · The burger variations at Go Burger include everything from the “UltiMelt,” made with a couple of grilled sandwiches as a bun, to the “Smashed Burger” which is literally “hand smashed” and comes with onions. - Cory Sanford | Daily Trojan

There’s In-N-Out, and the always popular Tommy’s. Umami Burger serves up a fascinating gourmet version, as do Bouchon, Lazy Ox Canteen and Wolfgang Puck.

Might as well add Go Burger to the list.

Newly opened in Hollywood, Go Burger is the BLT Restaurant Group’s new venture into the world of Los Angeles burger joints.

It features various gourmet burgers with an endless selection of toppings, as well as a weekly special. Also available are hot dogs and a few other entrees.

Additionally, Go Burger boasts a delicious drink menu, full of combinations that read like the  work of a rebellious 16-year-old.

The menu presents spiked milkshakes with ice cream, liqueurs and hard booze, as well as “adult floats” with, you guessed it, more ice cream and hard booze. This is accompanied by a long list of beers from the bottle and on tap, a few house cocktails and even beer cocktails.

Go Burger is virtually a mosh pit at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday night, with dozens milling around the host’s stand hoping for an open table. Thankfully, the wait this Friday was made bearable by SportsCenter and the Lakers on Go Burger’s numerous large, flat-panel TVs.

The ambiance blended diverse elements, modern and luxurious with dark woods and lowered lights, but also raucous and trendy with crowd noise and throwback elements like simple tables and steel chairs.

Still, few care about ambiance when burgers are on the brain. And Go Burger certainly doesn’t disappoint in this respect. The menu lists a few “Signature” burgers, including the violent-sounding “Smashed Burger” which comes “hand smashed” and “studded with onions.”

It is ferociously delicious, particularly when done “Philly style” with griddled onions, peppers, pickled jalapeños and provolone cheese.

And who could resist the “UltiMelt,” a grotesquely seductive concoction of fat, meaty beef plopped between — wait for it — two grilled cheese sandwiches? Granted, they are extremely slender grilled cheeses that are really just a sprinkling of cheese between two shavings of tasty rye bread, but the idea is still mouth-watering. The UltiMelt is undeniably rich, but not the heart-stopping monster that the menu implies.

Other burgers run the predictable-but-still-delicious gamut of topping combinations. The “Great Hills Blue” is a standout, with a salty-creamy-sweet mix of Great Hills blue cheese and caramelized onions.

There is also a “BLT,” a “Prime” burger made with dry-aged cuts of meat and the de rigueur “Classic,” all served on toasty if somewhat generic burger buns.

But the meal also had its low points. The “Kobe Dog,” made with a Snake River Farms frankfurter, is surprisingly average. If grilled or griddled it could have been better. Instead, this dog feels boiled, with a mildly chewy skin.

It could’ve gone head-to-head with a Hebrew National and earned a draw. In any event, the Kobe Dog is certainly not worth $7.

The duck fat fries, which are stunningly crisp and aromatic, came in a notably paltry portion for $6 a pop.

But should you still get them? Absolutely. Everything is better fried in duck fat, especially potatoes.

One can only push the burger envelope so far, and Go Burger doesn’t tread many mysterious culinary waters with its options (save for perhaps the UltiMelt).

But although Go Burger might lack the sheer innovation and precision of, say, Umami Burger, it offers flat-out satisfying burgers that don’t disappoint.

Sometimes that’s exactly what you need.