There’s been a lot of talk recently about the developing urban scene in downtown Los Angeles. Over the past couple of years, innovative eats have been popping up all across downtown.
One such venture is a small metropolis of fashion and food just West of the 110 freeway. On the bottom floor of FIGAT7TH, a new shopping destination in downtown Los Angeles, lies a surprising, tranquil escape from the city noise; a space where innovative ideas and good cuisine harmonize called TASTE FIGAT7TH.
TASTE FIGAT7TH is a new culinary endeavor of chef-driven, quick-service eateries that attempt to transcend the normal hustle and bustle of ordinary food courts. With nine restaurants slated to be open and fully operational within the coming months, it is no doubt that this culinary mecca will quickly become one of downtown’s hot spots.
One of these select eateries is Juicy Lucy, a new concept restaurant that is compelling L.A. burger joints to an entirely different standard. With fresh, local ingredients taking center-stage, Juicy Lucy doesn’t try to side-step quality by overwhelming its dishes with flavors. The restaurant boasts an open layout and café-style seating, making it perfect for a quick business meeting or a trendy lunch with friends.
Director of operations, Alexandra Rowinski, said the concept behind Juicy Lucy is as simple as it sounds: fast service and fresh ingredients. Situated in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the staff at Juicy Lucy can appreciate the fast-paced, in-and-out mentality of the majority of their customers.
The menu is simple enough, consisting of the basic hamburger, cheeseburger, turkey burger and Chef’s Burger – a daily special involving unique ingredients and new flavors. In short, vegetarians need not apply. The concise menu allows the freshness of the produce and quality of meat to shine through, ensuring that no entrée falls through the cracks. Every burger is made-to-order in front of the customer, allowing the meal to be customized, right down to the last pickle.
However, on one Monday I was feeling especially adventurous, so I ordered the Chef Burger and Sriracha Cheese Fries, leaving my fate in the hands of the very qualified people behind the counter. The Chef Burger included a blue cheese-stuffed beef patty, seared pork belly, arugula, shaved radish and pickled red onion topped off with a brioche bun. To complement my meal, I tried the two kinds of aguas frescas: pineapple and watermelon. Although both of the drinks were refreshing and light, the pineapple definitely outshined its competitor, proving itself a perfectly crisp accompaniment to my hearty meal.
When I took the first bite of my signature burger, I was hooked. Maybe it was the creamy consistency of my blue cheese patty or the freshness of the brioche bun, but every ingredient came together and melded into sweet harmony. The Sriracha Cheese Fries were pretty good, although I did feel that the thick cheese seemed to mask the fresh flavor of the natural-cut fries. I would definitely recommend going with the sea salt fries if ordering a burger as well.
Clearly, no burger would be complete without finishing it off with a creamy milkshake, and Juicy Lucy has covered its bases, offering vanilla, chocolate, mixed berry and salted caramel options. Although my burger was divine, I’m pretty sure I’m a sweet tooth at heart, and I could not put this shake down. The perfect balance of sweet and salty came together with a creamy yet surprisingly light consistency, which allowed me to convince myself that I was absolved from indulging in this sinful treat.
The man behind all this culinary genius is Chef Paul Shoemaker, who garnered fame for the “Juicy Lucy” cheeseburger at the highly acclaimed Savory Restaurant in Malibu. In 2012 Shoemaker earned the “Top Newcomer” award for Savory. Juicy Lucy, which officially opened its doors to the public on Jan. 8, is Shoemaker’s first solo endeavor.
Juicy Lucy is located at 735 S. Figueroa St., Suite #120 in Downtown Los Angeles. For hours and more information call (213) 683-1030, or visit thejuicylucy.com