Friday, May 25, 2012

Fusion Burgers: Highland Park gets a familiar burger menu with a local twist

Mexican BBQ burger at Fusion Burgers

Drive down York Blvd. in Highland Park and it's hard to resist stopping for a $1 taco at one of the smoky open air taco tables dotting the street between Figueroa and Ave. 50. The tables doling out the best pastor tacos are distinguished by the pineapple speared at the top of the spit; the juices drip onto the rotating pork as it acquires the all-important crispy bits. The menu at the recently-opened Fusion Burgers, located in a former York Blvd. mini-mall taqueria, owes quite a bit to Umami Burger.
But there's at least one departure from the now-familiar burger selection: the Mexican BBQ burger, a nod to the excellent taco tables down the block.
Fusion's Mexican BBQ burger does a credible job of combining these hyper-local flavors in burger form, with a hefty charred slice of pineapple, a sweet Hawaiian-type bun slicked with aioli and coarsely-ground pork.

Very cheese and bacon burger: crispy onions are a nice touch
Aside from the Mexican BBQ burger ($8.50) and something involving house-processed chorizo cheese, whatever that is, there's the burger with parmesan crisp, oven-dried tomato and shitake ($8.50); the green chile burger; the triple pork; the lamb burger. There are some ambitious ideas going on here, ingredient-wise, as well as the inevitable homemade pickles, cane-sugar sweetened sodas and sweet potato fries.
There's a sudden rush in Highland Park of Salvadoran bakeries turning into Proof Coffee-pouring cafes and perfectly good carne asada joints turning into gourmet burger shops. It's true that a person can only eat so much carne asada. But there's something overly formal and awkward about these places, where the servers call you "madame" while you're ordering a burger or use the royal "we" when taking your order. Anyway, Fusion Burger, madames aside, is a welcome addition to York, since it fills a need for casual places where you won't end up dropping $60-$80 for two, as you're likely to do at the York, Ba or Maxmiliano. And the burgers are darn good.
Maybe every neighborhood could use a place that takes a hit concept, then makes it a little bit all its own.

Fusion Burgers
5933 York Blvd.
Highland Park
(323) 257-8705

Fusion Burgers on Urbanspoon

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