Monday, October 4, 2010

Recon: STOUT

Hollywood, CA

My friend Dallas and I made a visit to Stout the other night and I was rather impressed.  Nestled into a converted mini mall, Stout took the corner space and knocked out the walls to expand the space and provide outdoor seating.  It was buzzing with energy and the palm trees were waving overhead.  The bar curves out in a crescent shape, and bar-height runner tables curve around it, providing more ‘bar’ for the space.  The seating fans out from there into a maze of tables.  Stout’s claim to fame is that they pair beers with each burger.

We were already a little buzzed from a hilarious comedy show with Natasha Leggero & Nick Thune, but opted for some beers while we waited to be seated.  I chose a wheat beer, the Blanche de Bruxelles and it was delicious!  My love for wheat beers – and subsequent exclusion of all other beers- is growing daily.  Dallas had a Sierra Nevada Tumbler Brown Ale.  Once we were seated I took a quick look at the menu and knew I had to have the Stout burger: blue cheese, emi gruyere, rosemary bacon, caramelized onion and horseradish cream.  No adjustments necessary.  Dallas chose the Shu burger: pepper jack cheese, light bell spread, grilled avocado and chipotle sauce.  Being my defiant self, I looked at the beer paired with my burg (an IPA or barley wine) and opted out.  Dallas’ burg came with the same suggestion, but he stuck with his Sierra as well. 

The burgers came out looking gorgeous.  Stacked tall, not too big.  Mine looked a little bloody, but wasn’t soggy at all.  I want to give them props for their buns.  They were dense which worked to our advantage in two ways.  1. They absorbed juices well and didn’t sog up.  2. With horseradish cream and pepper jack cheese/chipotle sauce, these burgs had serious kicks and the bun helped absorb the hot intensity.  That being said, the kick was fantastic.  I normally do not touch horseradish, but it complemented the flavors so well.  Even the blue cheese wasn’t over the top and it all really came together flavor-wise.  Meat was cooked medium and well seasoned.  Dallas’ Shu burger was no exception.  Definitely had a kick, but it worked.  The bacon was great, the cheese, the onion- I really loved it.  One of the best marriages of classic and gourmet styles I’ve seen yet.

We went with the seasoned fries, and there were several dip options so we asked our waitress which to choose.  She recommended the chipotle.  After sampling it, for me, it wasn’t the right choice.  Because the burgers have a nice spice to them, I needed the fries and their dip to be a calming presence- a flavor different from the burgers and the beers.  Thus, I asked for the lemon basil aioli and it was definitely the right choice.  Father’s Office has the best aioli, but this was perfect for the occasion.  The fries were crisp and delicious.  I saw sweet potato chips at another table, so I put those on my list for next time.  One serving of fries could easily feed three people. 

It's got a finished industrial feel to it.  Copper around the bar, wood paneling and concrete elsewhere.  There's a fantastic beer bottle chandelier too.  Their beer menu is extensive and service was ok, not great.  If you’re in Hollywood, hit this place up.  I can’t wait to go back and try another burger!

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