This week’s review is purely the product of social media. Powerful stuff, that hand held internet. These guys followed our Instagram, and after seeing a few gorgeous photos of my favorite food (and never otherwise hearing of Eden Burger Bar in my life) I had all the evidence I needed to justify a meal with them. Subsequently, they will definitely join my list of pleasant finds.
On Verdugo Road, just south of the 134 overpass, there is a very unassuming (and generally pretty busted) little strip mall, featuring the usual fare for the area: a tobacco shop, a liquor store, a cheap Chinese restaurant, a nail salon, a dentist, etc. and none of these businesses really look like anywhere you’d be thrilled to go. However, a lone island of building in the parking lot bears secrets worth discovering. Eden Burger Bar is not significantly more impressive than its neighbors from the outside, but the inside is an entirely different story. The interior design looks like a bottle service Night Club owned by the Tao Group more than a hamburger restaurant. You probably wouldn’t bat an eye if you to walked into this establishment on the Vegas Strip, but being in a totally unimpressive pocket of Glendale makes it almost seem like a film set that you can enter and order a hamburger, and a delicious hamburger at that.
Since Eden doesn’t have a namesake on the menu which is always my move when I know nothing about a place- I just got the first thing that looked intriguing, which happened to be the very first thing I saw. The “Firehouse” is described as: 35 day dry aged 8oz. beef patty, house spicy bacon, habanero jack cheese, giardiniera (which I had never heard of by name but have eaten over and over; it’s pickled jalapenos, carrots and cauliflower), tomato, and avocado mayonnaise, on a brioche. The whole time I was eating it, all I could think about was “Umami on steroids.” The burgers at Eden are probably 30% larger than at Umami, the same price, and though the menus of these 2 restaurants share virtually no parallels in terms of burger topping combinations, the grind and bread are strikingly similar in both cases, and neither are short on originality. The Firehouse patty could have been a little more seasoned, but otherwise there is not a thing I would change. It’s spicy but nowhere close to overwhelming as long as you like spicy food, while being just cheesy enough, just messy enough, and cooked perfectly rare. The bread is chewy, the aioli is mild, the bacon is thick, salty and cooked dark, the tomato gets lost but is probably helping cool your tongue off and not getting credit for role it plays, and before you know it, the burger is gone and you’re stuffed. Mine was accompanied by truffle fries, which, size, shape, and texture-wise are also very similar to Umami, though rather than cheese on them there is a healthy toss of parsley and truffle oil. A delightful meal over all, and delivered by a very cheery bartender.
I am already looking forward to my next visit to Eden. The rest of the specialty burger menu looks swell (they have 10) a few of which feature exotic meats. I have never tried boar or duck in burger form, and Eden Bar offers both. The more innovative beef options include the “Rehab” which boasts spicy bacon, swiss cheese, sweet potato/sausage hash, maple-mustard/mayo, and a fried egg (a hangover cure if I’ve ever seen one) and the “Fig” which is dressed in fresh figs, lemon basil aioli, smoked gouda, sundried tomato, crispy prosciutto, and fig & olive tapenade. You can build your own as well, if you prefer a more traditional presentation, and their beer and wine selections are surprisingly comprehensive. So hats off to Instagram, for leading me to burger salvation. The food is sinful, but my guess is you’re going to eat it anyway. I certainly plan to.