As the author has a hunger inside him, growing every day, he begins here a chronicle of his pursuit of that mid-century modern delicacy of LA: the hamburger. Stealth Burger Reviews will provide a snapshot of the manifold configurations of this meat-and-bread confection, and the crowded market of options in Southern California.
Carl's Jr.'s "The Six Dollar Burger®"
La Cienega and Hwy 10 / 12:03 am
Any burger predicated with an italicized "The" and suffixed with an ® means business, and Carl's Jr.'s The Six Dollar Burger is no exception. Specifically, The Six Dollar Burger means $3.99 worth of business, an irony surely savored by the marketing team that dreamed it up. They definitely patted themselves on the back for that. Somebody said, "Let's call it the six dollar burger... but only charge four dollars." And the other guy waggled his finger at the first guy and said, "That's gold."
That said, they could've called it The Six Dollar Burger® and charged $12. Now that would've been a Jedi mind trick. These aren't the dollar bills you're looking for...
The first impression is good: when you only order a burger, and the bag feels like you could send it through a plate glass window, you know you will not sleep easy after the midnight drive-thru. Inside the bag, a box. Inside the box, a burger in the half-wrap that defines SoCal and makes one-handed consumption possible. The box is half process black, underscoring Carl's Jr.'s charbroiled fare, and offers two boasts: "Made with 100% Angus Beef," and a quote from the Albuquerque Journal that says, "I have since tried one of the chain's Six-Dollar Burgers and must report that I have become addicted to them." It's nice to see your burger heralded in the press, but Albequerque is where Bugs Bunny made a wrong turn. I don't know if nationwide people are going, "Whoa, the Albequerque Journal said they're good?"
But down to the nitty gritty: the first bite had some gristle, which, hey, it's hamburger. You gotta be real. Sesame seed bun, charbroiled patty, fresh cold lettuce, pickles twice as thick as a dollar menu burger. Plenty of mustard. Until the mustard, I sense the high notes and robust body of a Whopper, but the mustard put me in a whole new place. Tomatoes were a little mealy, which turned me off some. About three-quarters in, I got a bone chip, which somehow reinforced the 100% Angus claim to me. Perhaps irrationally.
All in all, I'd give it three out of five stars. But more importantly, in response to McDonald's campaign, "Are you a Dollar Menunaire?" I can honestly say, not as long as I can pay four bucks for a six-dollar burger.