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[Photographs: Damon Gambuto]

Rush Street

9546 Washington Blvd, Culver City CA 90232 (map); 310-837-9546; rushstreetculvercity.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: This Hollywood-sized gastropub production delivers a delicious burger, again!
Want Fries with That? This solid iteration of shoestrings are worth a try, but the truffle fries might be the way to your heart
Prices: Red Eye burger, $13; falafel burger, $10

For some, the start of 2012 marked the year of Mayan doom foretold. For me, the start of the new year reminded me that I am, ahem, of a certain age. That I'm still kicking and screaming about burgers in 2012—a number that once definitively signified "the future" to me—means I must be getting a little long in the tooth. The lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne" are starting to make sense. Perhaps this is the time of year to look ahead by looking back.

I first wrote about Rush Street, the breathtakingly large gastropub and its equally breathtaking burger, in 2009. Back then I showed up with doubts and left a Rush Street believer. When I heard they were serving a New Year's Day hangover remedy in the form of a burger inspired by eggs Benedict I decided to ring in the new year with an old acquaintance.

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They call their new creation the Red Eye, but one needn't be inspired by a hangover to indulger in something this good. The basics read like a romance novel where a burger has an affair with a plate of eggs Benedict: 8-ounce patty of 80/20 dry-aged beef from Rocco Bros., applewood smoked bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, arugula, and a fried egg smothered in Hollandaise sauce, all on a tasty Rockenwagner brioche bun.

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One would expect the rich, beefy patty to be overwhelmed by all these devilishly strong toppings, but one would be wrong. The juices poured out of the perfectly medium rare patty and the char shone through. The fat-on-fat combination of buttery, creamy Hollandaise sauce and runny egg yolk was pure indulgence, but it matched the beef well.

Ok, maybe this kind of burger is better matched to a hangover for most, but I was beguiled by the way the proper burger construction was matched with the Benedict flavors.

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And because I am a dedicated professional (glutton) I also sampled the falafel burger. The truth of said chick pea grind is that I don't really consider constructions like this to be a burger despite the handsome simulacrum that it is. The deep fried center is full of flavor and is nicely matched with cucumber, tomato, spinach, hummus, and a delightful pickled red onion.

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The play of textures was so good I found myself devouring extra bites long after my hunger was sated. This is a sandwich that can help you make the argument to your vegetarian friends for a night out at Rush Street.

Many people may welcome the new year by looking towards the future, but by looking back at a past burger I found a brand new delight that just happened to be from an old acquaintance. Wistful memories of bygone days go well with "a cup of kindness." I'd just as soon have a burger smothered in Hollandaise sauce for auld lang syne. Happy New Year.

About the author: Damon is one of our roving burger reporters and food writers. When he's not eating more than is warranted or healthful (and then writing about it) he can be found writing and producing for television and film. You can contact him at seriouslydamon@gmail.com.

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