Big thanks to Charles for leading us to this hidden treasure! Blue Dahlia is one of those beautiful gems in LA – they have a burger that rocks your world, modern decor that makes you feel like you're in a cool ass loft, and an outside patio where you can smoke a ciggi and take in the warm winter nights. Like Bodega Bar in Santa Monica, it's more of a sophisticated wine bar than a rowdy college hangout, a place to kick it with your old buddies and reminisce about the good old days. As you walk in you notice the minimal decor, angular tables and sofas that are wrapped in what looks like faux leather. Huge rectangular mirrors line one wall and alongside the other, a floor to ceiling wine rack that houses a wide range of wines.
Eugene and I order two burgers from their menu – their signature one – stuffed Barolo braised short-rib burger with arugula, carmelized onion, smoked gouda and their chipotle sauce along with their more traditional burger, same meat but with tomato, romaine lettuce, pictures, cheddar and their chipotle sauce.
Holy moly were these burgers good! Why? The meat is nothing like you've ever tasted. In fact, the owner So Young Lee tells you that it isn't just a “burger,” it's a short-rib stuffed angus burger. The meat is braised for four hours giving it a wonderful tenderness. A mix of shredded meat and more traditional angus meat, it's thick without being heavy. Of course, the carmelized onion/gouda burger was the clear winner for us. All toppings blend beautifully together to create a gourmet burger fit for even the most hard to please burger afficionados (i.e. Eli)! If you like a soft bun, you're in mad luck. This one tastes just like the one from 25 Degrees in Hollywood. We asked for a side of garlic fries which came out crispy on the outside, just like Burger Kings. With chunks of real garlic spread on top, it was pure heaven.
Here's Eugene chowing down on this baby.
We were lucky enough to meet the owner of Blue Dahlia herself, Soo Young Lee, who also happened to be Korean. She told us about her appreciation for the Yelpers out there who have virally spread the word. Soo Young has plans for wine tasting nights starting in February where she'll pair wines from around the world with some of her most signature dishes. One of these will be stewed short-ribs over egg noodles, something we'll have to try out on our next visit. Overall?: We had a wonderful experience eating at a nice modern restaurant in downtown Los Angeles. The carmelized onion/gouda burger now ranks in my top five best burgers of all time list. Tips?: Try out some other dishes while you are there. We hear their portobella mushroom burger is also good along with their paninis. Who Should Go?: People who want a gourmet burger that's worth more than just the $11/$12 (lunch/dinner) they charge. People who love outdoor patios and can picture themselves sipping wine under the moonlight. People who want to hang out in downtown LA and don't want to just eat ramen a few streets over in J-town. Thank you, Soo Young, for a fabulous meal. Great meeting you and we can't wait to visit your restaurant again. (This time with all our friends!) Blue Dahlia Cafe 738 E 3rd St Los Angeles, CA 90013 (213) 613-0621 Note: Soo Young Lee, the owner, joined theMET! If you have a moment, stop by and say hi! Then, go try her awesome burgers.