Whenever I write an article claiming one thing is the best, I get a number of e-mails suggesting I try another place. So after my hamburger article I received about six e-mails from PR people suggesting I try their client’s hamburger, and one of those was an invitation to the Daily Grill.
That invitation included a lot of information about how they make their hamburger, so I accepted, and selected the one on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, as it is the closest to home. Naturally I went with my friend Harvey, an expert on hamburgers, if the number eaten over the years means anything.
I went incognito, and Harvey and I each ordered a different burger. I ordered a plain medium rare burger and Harvey ordered a mountain of hamburger, cheese, bacon and peppers. And what would a burger be without a draft beer … or two?
So how was it? I gave it a B-plus. My burger was a bit more cooked than medium rare. Harvey liked his burger but said the bacon was underdone and the meat a bit dry. But there is no denying it’s a first-class burger.
And that’s one of the problems: if you use really top quality meat in a hamburger, it comes out a bit dense and dry. To get an A burger, you have to use meat with enough fat content so that some of the fat is left in the burger after most of it is cooked out. Another difficult part in cooking hamburgers is the temperature of the grill; if it’s not hot enough you can’t get that crisp outside and rare inside.
But that’s not the best part of the story. Yes, the burger was good, but the restaurant itself is a really nice place. Under the management of Jensen Kumamoto, the service is crisp and timely. The menu has everyone’s favorites. There is a pleasant bar, and the booths are comfortable. I’ve had a delicious salmon plate there, and the sourdough bread is among the best in town.
The peach cobbler for dessert was enough for four people, so I just ate half of it. Paired with a well-made espresso, I was a happy diner. We were there at lunch this time, and there was a pretty good crowd, even at the bar. I’ve been there for dinner a few times, and there is much less of a crowd, so it’s a really quiet, pleasant place.
I highly recommend this Daily Grill, especially for dinner. But between you and me, the marinated steak is better than the hamburger.
Free parking underneath with validation — now that’s a plus!
If You Go
2501 Colorado Ave.
Santa Monica, Calif.
Merv Hecht, the food and wine critic for the Santa Monica Daily Press, is a wine buyer and consultant to a number of national and international food and wine companies. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org