This week Kristy Alpert samples some Korean/American fusion at the recently-opened LA Burger in Irving.
Overview: When I walked in to this place for the first time, I expected to find yet another Korean taco joint touting creativity through “fusion” and “flavor.” The walls are painted in a simple two-toned color-scheme of mustard and ketchup, the restaurant sits next to a Domino’s Pizza, and, although I was greeted with an oddly delightful scent of kimchi and garlic, all signs pointed to a “good for them” burger experience. Thankfully, I’ve never been so wrong in my life. Open just a scosh longer than three months, LA Burger is owned and run by brothers Benjamin and Jon Lee. These boys transplanted here from … wait for it … LA (get the name now?) by way of the Air Force, and have set out to bring some of their favorite food styles to their new home in DFW. Although, just like their restaurant, they may look clean cut on the outside, the Lee brothers have some crazy creativity brewing behind closed doors.
Menu: I think it’s fair to say this menu will continue to change. These brothers like to play with their food, and I for one am glad they do! They have a great range of burgers, from the Psychedelic with sautéed ‘shrooms and special ‘shroom sauce ($4.95) to their Holy Smokes burger with BBQ sauce, bacon and two crispy onion rings ($5.45). Lighter items include an Ocean Side salmon burger ($6.95), their Naked bun-less burger ($3.95), and salads that start at $6.95. For a taste of what the Lee boys can really do, try the Asian Bulgogi Hogi ($5.75) or the Seoul Dog ($4.95), an American hot dog fused with Korean bulgogi and sautéed kimchi. They make all their kimchi in house, fermenting for at least a week. They have plans to bottle their version of this super food soon and sell to the public … you heard it here first!
What we ate: Suffering from a bout of indecisiveness, my friend and I decided to go halvsies on Benjamin Lee’s recommendations. Yes. Halvsies. We started with the Asian Tacos ($4.95), that came with two bulgogi (Korean “fire beef”) and one dejigogi (Korean “pork beef”) served on a corn tortilla with freshly chopped onions, loads of fresh cilantro and a special sauce. While both were great, the bulgogi was a definite favorite with its sweet yet spicy flavors and oh-so-tender beef. Next we dug into some K-Town fries ($5.75)—a basket of shoe-string French fries loaded (literally loaded) with bulgogi, kimchi, cheese, cilantro, onions and “magic” sauce. De-li-ci-ous. If I’m sending someone to this place, I would make them order this dish. Every bite gave off a burst of flavor. They also do a K-Town version of nachos, where they add jalapenos and homemade tortilla chips. These could easily be an entire meal with as much meat that comes piled on top. But did we stop there? Psh. Next we split the LA Burger ($6.95), formerly the K-Town Burger, that comes with a fried egg (just right: not too runny, not overcooked), kimchi, a teriyaki marinated Angus patty, tomatoes, lettuce and … who cares … their kimchi alone makes this burger amazing. I went through six napkins to get through my half of the burger, and once it was over, I found myself wiping kimchi sauce off all my rings. It was a beautiful thing.
Extras: When in doubt with this menu, ask one of the Lee brothers what to order. Chances are they’ll blow you away with one of their creations or even whip up something “made-to-order” on the spot. Don’t leave without trying their Puffed Ice Cream Burger ($1.75) if you have any room left. It comes with Blue Bell ice cream sandwiched between Asian puffed rice cakes and tastes like a reinvented ice cream cone.
MacArthur Blvd, Irving, TX 75063