The Chosun One
8 oz. Burger Bar, Hollywood, California
My friend and fellow unusual food writer Eddie Lin had been telling me for weeks that I needed to try what he loosely called a “kimchi burger” that was a featured item on the menu at Los Angeles’ 8 oz. Burger Bar. The dish is dubbed “The Chosun One” by its creator (Chef Edward Hah) as a nod to its Korean influence, as Chosun is the older northern name for that country. Chef Hah gets a little defensive when the dish is referred to as a kimchi burger, mainly because anyone expecting a beef patty topped with aged Napa cabbage will be sorely disappointed. The dish is a complex assembly of a wide variety of flavors, starting with the scallion and parilla leaf-laced beef and pork patty. Just the addition of bacon, fresh Korean radish, Dijon ketchup, mustard and a red pepper/sesame aioli would make this a formidable dish, but the crowning achievement is Hah’s special escarole-based kimchi. The green is salted and soaked, aged, pureed and sautéed to create a vegetable ingredient that only earns the name kimchi as the result of its preparation. The bun is unassuming and ordinarily would be easily disregarded, but as the consumption of this culinary masterpiece progresses the bun soaks up all of the juices and turns the dish into an Asian Sloppy Joe. The flavors fight for dominance on the tongue with the escarole kimchi emerging as the clear winner, but it graciously gives each of the runners-up some of the spotlight.
All of the items we had at 8 oz. Burger Bar were fresh and delicious – a duck prosciutto salad with Mandarin oranges, toasted hazelnuts and green beans was like a crisp day in the wilderness hunting for duck; milky, stringy burrata cheese atop a stack of colorful tomato slices and skinned globes highlighted the flavors of the individual varieties, bringing out the fruits’ tartness and sweetness; and, their Panini-style short rib grilled cheese sandwich was melty without being greasy. As tempted as I am to revisit 8 oz. Burger Bar to try their beef burgers, I would undoubtedly order The Chosun One again, hoping to relive the culinary experience over again. This burger is getting plenty of press these days, so rather than to babble on about it, I’ll leave you with a joint video podcast with Deep End Dining, and a link to a superlative article by Javier Cabral of Teenage Glutster. A word of caution – you may want to bring a bib, or perhaps a wetsuit as you’ll undoubtedly spend the rest of the evening sucking the juices out of your shirt sleeves.
Read an account of an encounter with The Chosun One by Javier Cabral (The Glutster)
Experience the podcast of Val and Deep End Dining‘s Eddie Lin enjoying The Chosun One