Review by David S. Full review for The Bowery can be found here.
Quick hit: I went in not expecting much, and dreading the thought of an English Muffin bun. I left blown away, finding my favorite burger in one of the least expected places. A ridiculously tasty red-onion confit, great toppings, quality burger, amazing sides, and a great atmosphere!
Burger (93/100): Normally I don’t like places that make me choose my toppings. I prefer to let the chef craft me a perfect combination of flavors, rather than make me decide what type of cheese goes well with what type of bun (and so on and so forth). However, the toppings listed were interested and not too overwhelming, so I just went for it. Gruyere, roasted jalapenos, fried egg, and red-onion confit. Everything was amazing! I highly recommend the combo I chose, but I wouldn’t blame you if you chose bacon over the jalapeno. However, I WOULD blame you if you DIDN’T get the red-onion confit…you must get this topping! The confit is sweet, juicy, full of flavor…it simply makes the burger! The fried egg was cooked perfectly and oozed over everything just right (and it didn’t cost an extra $3…cough* Rustic Canyon cough*). The roasted jalapenos were a bit hot in some bites, but I like the heat. There were a lot of different cheese options that could have worked with the burger as well. I chose Gruyere, which was great, but I think most of the other options would have served as well. The beef was perfectly cooked medium rare, fully of rich beefy flavor and juicy to the last bite. Just an amazing burger!
The bun…and English Muffin…scared me at first. I had an English Muffin bun once at The Counter, and the damn thing fell apart on me half way through, making a mess of everything. The muffin at The Bowery, however, held up very well. The English muffin served as a perfect, unobtrusive vessel for delivering all the tasty filling that was the burger. I didn’t taste the muffin much, which was a good thing. It kept everything together, and didn’t get in the way. Good enough for me!
Sides (90/100): The sides available with the burger were numerous. We ended up getting regular fries, sweet potato fries, and buttermilk battered onion rings. Everything was as good as I could have hoped for. The fries were hot, thin and crispy. The onion rings were light as a feather, which was needed after all the food we were eating. While we may have just ordered the standard fried stuff, there were other options like kale and veggies. I really appreciate it when there are more than just the standard fries and onion rings offered, so that’s a big plus in my book. We also ordered some gravy fries as an appetizer. The gravy fries were AMAZING! A mound of crispy fries placed on a large platter, then covered with short rib gravy, and even with small bits of short rib included! I highly recommend you order a plate of the gravy fries, even if you plan on getting some other sides.
Ambience (83/100): I love how this place is a small, unassuming little hole in the wall spot, right in the middle of Hollywood. If I wasn’t looking for it, I would have never even thought to glance up at the sign. Once inside, the interior is dark, and the place looks more like a bar than anything (it’s a gastropub). The seating is comfortable, and the service attentive. We arrived at 7:45 pm on a Monday, so it was relatively empty. However, by 8:30 pm, the place was buzzing with people, and by the time we left, the place was packed and people were waiting for us to leave…on a Monday. I hear The Bowery gets really crowded on weekends and Thursday/Friday, so be prepared to wait or not get a chance to sit down at all. It all worked out well for us though.
The Bowery also had a good beer selection, including one of my favorites, Delerium Tremens. Score!
Value (80/100): $11.50 for the burger with your choice of cheese and three toppings. Just the burger is $9.50 and each topping is $1 extra (you save $1 by doing the $11.50 special). Sides are $3.00 extra. Overall I paid $14.50 for one of the best burgers I ever had with some really choice toppings, and a perfectly done side (fries, onion rings, etc…take your pick, they were all good). By the time I was done, I was stuffed and very happy. Quite a good value in my book.
Overall (not an average) (90/100): I had no expectations for The Bowery when I went in…in fact, I was not looking forward to it. By the end of the night, I was a complete convert and couldn’t believe that I had just found one of my favorite burgers (if not THE favorite) in all of Los Angeles! The burger was more than I could have hoped for, the sides perfectly done, and I love how it’s a small little spot that is easily overlooked. Nice beer selection and a good overall value is just icing on the cake!