Archive for the ‘Hamburgers’ Category

Charcoal: At least the movie was good.

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007


Alternate title for this post as suggested by James’ dad: Burned by Charcoal

We often meet James’ dad for lunch and a movie at the Arclight. The tradition is to get sliders from the Roosevelt (as I attempt to link “the Roosevelt,” I realize that James never posted about these delightful little motherfuckers. ? and ! They are my favorite sliders in the world!!! He even he has a gorgeous photo of them already! What is up with that boy? Lazy, lazy.) before the movie, popcorn (real butter at the Arclight) during, and milkshakes from Mel’s Diner after.

One recent afternoon, however, we decided to break from tradition and check out Charcoal, since it just opened so enticingly right next to the Arclight Cineramadome. Charcoal is brought to us by the team of Michael Sutto and Adolfo Suaya, who also co-own The Lodge. I was more excited by the fact that they brought in Yuri Samano, formerly of Arnie Morton’s Steakhouse, as the head chef.

When I think “head chef of a steakhouse,” I think “mmmm, good meat.” So I ordered a half rack of ribs, which comes with baked beans and fries. I swapped out the beans for a salad (“Good decision,” said James’ dad later, upon tasting his baked beans).

The salad looked vibrant and fresh, but lurking inside this severely overdressed salad was a black hole consisting of dressing and olive bits. Whoa! I picked off the outer, untouched leaves and ate the carrots, but the rest was inedible.

James got the cheeseburger, which he ordered “medium.” Again, sensible people would expect a good burger from a place with a pedigree like it has. It came out, however, with a center looking browner than a butthole, and James said “This is the driest burger I have ever eaten.” Ouch, Charcoal, what are you doing to us?

The ribs came out looking gorgeous. The sauce was glazed beautifully, almost crystallized, and the ribs were piping hot. Sauce monkey that I am, I hoped for a little dish of sauce, but I appreciated that perhaps the meat was so delicious that it should be savored without the distraction of sauce.

In theory, perhaps. In practice the ribs were, like, eh. They were fine. They weren’t fall-off-the-bone tender, but I appreciate that some ribs aren’t supposed to be that style. I guess the meat was tasty, but not all of the fat had been rendered enough so I got some unpleasant squishes of liquid fat in my mouth. Bleh.

Charcoal is not insanely expensive (my half rack was only $14) so I can forgive them, but I cannot forgive them for making us wait TWENTY minutes for the check (after our dishes were cleared)! They should know that most of the clientele will be movie-goers, so freaking-A like please be timely, you know? Mofos. Even at the end of 20 minutes our server gave us this surprised “What?” look from across the restaurant when we waved him down. The fact that he had earlier cutely pronounced “tangy” (as in “tangy dressing”) as “tanjy” did not excuse him.

Sigh. Thank god for the movie, since the only thing that could console me was the sweet sound of “nee-ner-neee-nee-nee” ((The sound that Transformers make.)) accompanied by some hot metal-on-metal action.