Things don’t always work out the way you expect them to. Actually most of the time, things never work out the way they do in your head. In that spirit, I will tell you about the burger at MessHall Kitchen. MessHall is a new eatery that has sprung out of the ashes of the Louise’s Trattoria that graced the corner of Los Feliz Blvd and Hillhurst in Los Feliz. The place is massive. Filled with long wooden tables and metal stools in-between bare brick walls, the restaurant feels chic and homey at the same time. Modeled after a camping lodge the menu is full of cheeky references to Survival (drinks menu) and Damages (the bill) and contains everything from oysters to smoked corn fritters to brisket. It’s fancy comfort food.
Naturally I assumed their burger would be a point of pride. I mean, they named it after themselves after all. The MessHall burger is an aged beef patty with sautéed onions, Vermont white cheddar, smokey sauce (code for smoky ketchup) on a brioche bun. The menu mentions something called b & b pickles that are supposed to be on there, but my burger had no such thing. It is a simple burger. The combination of onions, cheese, and beef is always a winner and the sauce lending certain sweetness. Was it memorable? Not really. So why am I wasting your time? Here’s why.
I will now utter the unthinkable words. Brace yourself. “The Brussels sprouts were better than the burger AND the fries.” Horrifying, no? I still haven’t been able to come to terms with it. My dining partner insisted on getting the Brussels sprouts and I indulged her because you know, health is good. I was not prepared for what happened afterwards. These unassuming nuggets of green deliciousness outshone the whole meal. They were perfectly cooked, not tough or burned, and melted like little buttery nuggets in your mouth. Abandoning my burger, I gorged on Brussels sprouts, sad that my mother wasn’t here to observe this monumental event. By the time the meal was over, I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
I leave you with a word of warning about their pie. It’s not pie. The waiters will swear up and down that they’ve got great banana cream pie. I am here to tell you that they do not. They have great banana cream pudding. Their “pie” comes in a little glass jar with sugar cookies and a flambéed banana on the side. There is no crust. I repeat there is no crust. Everyone knows that the secret to a great pie is a hot, flakey, buttery crust. To put filling in a jar and call it pie is ridiculous. That’s like handing you a lump of white cream and calling it an Oreo. The Emperor has no clothes, people. That being said, their banana pudding is scrumptious.