10668 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064 (map); 310-837-6662; thesixrestaurant.com
Cooking Method: Griddled
Short Order: This gastropub burger is worth some special attention for its quality and balance.
Want Fries with That? Yes; salty and crispy spuds like these are one of life's gifts.
Prices: Classic Burger w/cheddar, $11; The Six Burger, $10
Notes: For the non-beef eaters in your party the turkey patties are better than you'd expect.
One could be forgiven for an eye roll upon hearing that a group of Los Angeles restaurateurs got together to make another gastropub. With our beloved burger's ascendancy has come a series of ventures dedicated to riding the wave to restaurant success. The thinking usually seems about as involved as creating an accessible, burger-centric menu, throwing in a few craft beers, and waiting for the profits to start rolling in. I had worries in this vein heading over to The Six on Pico Boulevard in West L.A.—worries that ended up being misplaced
The group behind The Six know what they are doing. Will Karges and Jake King have more than five restaurants under their belts between them and the current chef, Daniel Somoza, was at the finer fare restaurant Wilshire before setting up as sous chef at The Six (he has since been promoted). They've focused the menu on largely local and seasonal ingredients and a given a decidedly upscale feel to food that usually comes in under $25. My favorite option? You guessed it, their burger.
The Six takes its name from the Society of Six, a group of early Twentieth Century artists who lived in Northern California. While their art was an important part of the American Impressionist movement, it's their storied dinner parties at that led inspired the owners to honor them with the name. It's an interesting origin story, but even more interesting is their delicious burgers.
The Six's Classic burger is pretty faithful to your expectations. They serve it up with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo, and yellow mustard. Cheddar is optional (for an extra buck) and, as is my habit, I opted. The bun would be fairly described as brioche, but that word evokes some adjectives that would be unfair. This is not a flaky, overly sweet piece of bread ill-suited to a burger. Rather the bulbous-looking bun is actually pliant and well-matched to the rest of the ingredients.
The patty, a hefty round that they claim is just a grain-fed chuck, has such depth and flavor I'd just as soon believe they'd come up with their own blend. It's marvelously juicy and a medium to coarse grind makes for a fantastic texture. There's also plenty of seasoning (that smack of salt I love) added to ensure the meat and fat can fully demonstrate their balance and flavor. The fresh and crisp vegetable toppings add another layer of texture. The only misgiving I had was the lack of heat applied to the cheese. Mine was only melted halfway through, which meant it didn't have the pleasing smoothness of a proper melt.
I also tried the eponymous Six Burger. The basics (patty and bun) remain the same, but they add a raft of ingredients that are more than a little bold. It comes with tomato, blue cheese, onion rings, butter lettuce, and Thousand Island dressing. I thought much of it worked together nicely, but the blue cheese wound up overwhelming the rest of the burger.
I've always thought blue cheese was a dangerous cheese for a burger because the strength of the flavor can be so overpowering. As you can see from the above cross-section, they weren't shy portioning it out. If you are a blue cheese burger lover, this one will please, but for me the Classic is the clear choice.
The Six has already built a loyal following. When I arrived on an ordinary Tuesday for what I expected to be a quiet midday meal, I found a bustling lunch rush that meant fighting for a table. The crowd is well-earned though. The Six makes burgers that are juicy, flavorful, and worth seeking out.