Monday, May 23, 2005

Hamlet nostalgia

Really nice story on Marilyn Lewis and Hamburger Hamlet in the New York Times magazine, which as every blogger pointed out, seemed to have more articles about L.A. than New York. As a child I probably ate at the Hamlet more than any other restaurant, and the Lewises were friends of our family, so it was a particularly nostalgic piece for me. When I was little, it seemed truly revolutionary to put wacky stuff like pineapple on a hamburger. A few other Hamlet imitators sprang up -- Hamburger Habit on Wilshire, and another kooky place on La Brea (Small World, maybe?) with unusual burger toppings. I'm not sure I agree that the Hamlet spawned Jar and Spago, but the Daily Grill for sure. The NY Times gives the recipe for their famous lobster bisque. When the Hamlet was still good, my favorite dishes there were the ratatouille and Those Potatoes, a kind of glorious hash browns. Now that the Lewises have sold the chain, the remaining outlets are a little spotty, food-wise.

5 comments:

Miles said...

There's nothing better than the Hamlet's Lobster Bisque. And, for that matter, I still miss the fromage burger (regular burger with some sort of garlic herb cheese spread) and their chili burger. Anyone who grew up in L.A., ate and ate well at the Hamlet. Sadly, the one on South Beverly Drive I hear is history now, too.

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Richard Hyman said...

I grew up in Studio City and we ate at the Hamlet on Van nuys blvd often. "those potatoes" were one of the most decadent side dishes ever served at a restaurant. I've been trying to find the original recipe for years. Any hints?