214 South Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills CA 90212 (map); 310-550-8655; cabbagepatchbh.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: Too fine a grind does not make for a fine burger.
Want Fries with That? No thank you. Dusted with seasoning and lacking any silkiness, these are not worth the trouble. Go with the more interesting Cabbage Patch Slaw that has the unique additions of peanuts and cilantro.
Prices: Cheese Burger w/frites, $12
Notes: The fresh produce and inventive salads are where this place shines.
Cabbage Patch has a burger that I've been meaning to try since the restaurant opened. The name of chef/owner Samir Mohajer has popped up on a couple of occasions in my burger travels around Los Angeles. Mohajer used to be the chef at Rustic Canyon, home of one of my favorite burgers in town. While I clearly I have a bias toward the current head of that kitchen, Evan Funke, at the very least, I have to give Mohajer the credit for first putting a burger on that menu. Mohajer also did some consulting for the boys at The Golden State, another restaurant with a great burger. As you can imagine, my curiosity about what his place might be like was thoroughly piqued.
When Mohajer first ventured out on his own, he'd imagined opening up a more upscale wine bar, but the realities of the recession made the idea of a casual lunch spot seem more in sync with the times. Clearly he made the right choice, as his fairly-priced and locally sourced Cabbage Patch has become a casual lunch favorite in Beverly Hills. I stopped in the other day in the hopes that his clientele's devotion is largely due to his burger.
The Cabbage Patch Cheese Burger ingredient list reads like the contemporary playbook for good, higher-end burgers: Niman Ranch beef, Tillamook cheddar, applewood smoked bacon, arugula, and a brioche bun (likely from Rockenwagner). On the side comes the choice of frites or the Cabbage Patch Slaw. Of course, having to decide between two things is a dilemma that is best solved with my simple heuristic: order both.
The burger arrived looking a little, well, green. It seemed the entirety of the cabbage—or arugula—patch had made its way onto my burger. I know the place gets a lot of attention for its salads, but I prefer mine on the side. Their brioche bun is fine, but they neglected to give enough toasting to my preferred texture: crunch against sponginess.
The patty itself showed a surprisingly fine grind that was the biggest disappointment. The beef is quality and has some good flavor, but the grind undermines the texture. The bacon, normally not my favorite, actually added a helpful extra hit of fat. The Tillamook cheddar (the same used on the legendary Apple Pan burger) is a welcome highlight. I find the flavor and texture close enough to my childhood memories of gooey American on my cheeseburgers to please my nostalgia, but with an added bite that matches a more complex burger.
The frites seem oddly named as they aren't reminiscent of an authentic French version. Mohajer opts to dust his with a heavy coating of seasoning (paprika, et al) that makes the already dry spuds completely overdone. The slaw was where Mohajer's talents came to the foreground. The crunch of the cabbage is met with a wholly pleasing addition of peanuts and cilantro.
It's unfortunate that Cabbage Patch's burger was such a disappointment because it doesn't seem to match the quality of so many other options on the menu. Well, that and the fact that I am always hoping for burger greatness. There may be a lot of reasons to pay a visit to Cabbage Patch, but the burger isn't one of them.