There is a new upscale burger in town. Founded by Brent and Bruce Reichard, Hook Burger Bistro is marketing itself as “fine dining in a bun”. From the size of the line stretching out the door of the Burbank location, it looks like they have found their niche.
The tavern-meets-industrial-modern atmosphere is reminiscent of Wurstkurche and other nouvelle ‘fast food”. An employee walks along the line greeting customers, distributing menus, and explaining the concept to hurry things along. Four burgers, four sandwiches, and four salads. The concept is kind of screwed up by the addition of a chicken plate, but I’m nit-picking. Hook offers a wide selection of beers and wine. With Stella Artois and Fat Tire on tap and Bass by the bottle, my entire family’s preferences are covered.
Brent and Bruce started their burger careers at the original Hamburger Hamlet. They later bought the Hamlet and used it as a basis to found the popular Hamburger Habit chain. Their chicken is hormone-free, their packaging is biodegradable, and they seem to be following the ben and Jerry’s business model of people and the planet first. Besides Burbank, there are locations in Oxnard and Pasadena, with more to come.
I dismissed the salad section immediately. I wasn’t at The Salad Bistro for a reason. I picked a selection of three items off of the menu. The skirt steak sandwich the best of the lot. It was very similar to the arracha steak sandwiches of Mexico. The meat was extremely tender. The burger was not mind-blowing, although being able to tailor-make it with your choice of cheese was nice. It was a good burger but nothing to write Yelp about.
I really appreciated the fact that you could get the ahi seared or done through. I ordered mine done through because I am a barbarian, and there was a visible char on the fish that worried me. But the color did not translate to any burnt taste, and the fresh fish with wasabi mayo was a satisfying change from your standard fare.
The parking lot at the Empire Center is already a total clusterfuck, so just park by Target and walk. Then with all those calories expended you can splurge on sweet potato fries, which kick ass. Really, I have no beef with Hook except for the fact that they took a really good name away from what could have been a fish place. Or crocodile. Hook would be the perfect name for a Crocodile Bistro.