Sunday, July 31, 2011

Worthy Burgers in OC: Joseph Mahon's Burger Parlor (Fullerton, CA)

I never got to try Chef Joseph Mahon's burger while he was at Bastide, but everyone raved about it.
Naturally when he opened Burger Parlor in Fullerton, I decided I had to try it, OC or not (being in Pasadena, OC seems extra far).

Burger Parlor is sort of a permanent pop-up. The space is Rialto Cafe by day and Burger Parlor by night (Wed to Sat nights only at the moment).
In this casual and intimate space, regular customers can chat unintimidated with Mahon, and occasionally his wife and adorable baby boy.
There are nine burgers on the menu and thick cut steak fries, but a sign indicates that he can also construct something vegetarian-friendly. You need only ask.
Mahon has the burger basics down: good meat patty, ground daily from Nebraska Angus beef, and good buttery buns. Of course, he doesn't just stop there - more after the jump.
I ordered the Chip Shot with Fontina cheese, Potato Chip, Tomato Confit, Mushrooms, Arugula, and Chipotle Aioli ($9)
Chip Shot
Yes, I was intrigued by the crushed potato chips in the burger. Previously I would lament that while I love arugula, substituting iceberg lettuce with arugula and adding toppings like mushroom take away the "crunch" that I like to feel when biting into my burger. Well, with the bits of potato chips, Mahon adds back that crunch in entirely an new way. The patty itself is juicy and flavorful.

I was joined by Rumdood, his girlfriend and their friend, although they had already eaten since she's vegetarian and they didn't realize they would have anything vegetarian-friendly. Well, despite having had dinner, Rumdood couldn't resist ordering the Sloppy Joe made with Ground Beef Chili, Cumin, and Fried Cheddar Cheese ($8). It's the fried cheese!
Sloppy Joe
Back in high school, the cafeteria would do "international days" and American day would unfailingly consist of sloppy joe. I haven't had sloppy joe since then, until now. Needless to say, this one is worlds away. The visual juxtaposition to a burger is fun too. Instead of a meat patty and melted cheese, the fried cheese constitutes the solid component as the meat sauce smothers it.
Sloppy Joe
melted, fried cheese. Oh yeah.
That Mahon can deep fry the cheese without a deep fryer but using a large pot of oil is quite a feat.

Chef Joseph Mahon also brought out another burger for us to try. His namesake, Mahon Burger, made with hamburger patty, pastrami, Swiss cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, grain mustard sauce ($10)
The Mahon Burger
I've seen pastrami burgers before, but instead of piling up slices of pastrami, here Mahon adds thick chunks of smoky pastrami, which added a depth of flavor to the burger without being overwhelming both for the hands and the palate.

If you're thinking of ordering fries, note that the ketchup is housemade and is excellent. We asked how he made it and he listed a whole bunch of ingredients including sage.

Burger Parlor also has a small but nice list of bottled beers (at the moment mostly European, but sounds like he's researching local craft beers). I ordered the Brasserie de Rocs “Grand Cru” ($9, 330ml) since I've never tried it before.
This was a Belgian Abbey brown ale, 9.5% ABV. I tend to love stronger trappist and abbey style ales, and this one was no exception. Adding this to the list of beers I love.

While restaurants have gotten around charging $16 for their burgers, the burgers here are only $8-10 for the same quality of ingredients (if not better than many). Yes, I still hope that Mahon will again make duck confit, pork cheeks, and foie gras cemita, but in the meantime lucky Fullerton residents should rejoice that these are right in their backyard.

Burger Parlor
108 W Wilshire Ave
Fullerton, CA 92832
Burger Parlor on Urbanspoon


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