Okay, this may be a bit too much to settle on the basis of one visit, but I swear to you that the American Classic Burger I had for lunch at Plate 38 on Saturday was the best burger I've had in LA County. It was not the biggest by any means, and it was just one pinch too salty for perfection, but the balance of all its parts could hardly be bettered. The brioche bun had exactly the right texture, flavor and firmness; the patty was done precisely to the medium-rare stage I'd ordered, and was juicy, beefy and (as noted) pre-seasoned just that bit too much; the cheddar cheese was very good and of exactly the right amount, and the lettuce, tomato and shreds of red onion were of excellent quality and, again, perfect quantity. It comes on a metal tray, along with a fine Kosher dill spear and a quite substantial wood-handled knife, in case you prefer to cut the sandwich in half, which I did.
Mrs. O had the ham sandwich on croissant, of which she kindly gave me a bite; its contents include arugula, which I enjoyed very much, though that's not to everyone's taste. She loved it. We had just a small San Pellegrino each, since this was a sort of working lunch in a day of serious house-cleaning, and the tab with tip was around $27.
The burger itself is $8.50, and it's a third-pound patty, so it compares roughly with my previous favorite half-pound burger at the Redwood Bar & Grill downtown at $12. Overall, Plate 38's prices seem a little on the high side for a place with Oinkster-type service (order at the register, pay, and take the number to put on your table), but the space is attractive and comfortable, much cleaner than Oinkster and quieter than anywhere else I can think of (No music! No TV! No screaming!). I was pleased to note that items on the lunch menu did not change in price on the dinner menu, though that seems to be more common than it used to be.
2361 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
2005 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Redwood Bar & Grill
316 W 2nd St Ste 202, Los Angeles, CA 90012