Brad Thompson, the new chef at Lever House, knows all about gourmet burgers. He was part of the team that created the DB Burger, and his L.A. tailgates are the stuff of legend. So now, as he prepares to create the citys latest haute hamburger, for Lever House, what is he thinking about? We got the details.
What do you want from a gourmet burger?
I dont want to reinvent the burger. I dont want Kobe beef or gold leafthats losing the point of the burger. Ive had enough of all that. Everybodys doing it.
So what will yours be like?
Im getting it from Pat LaFrieda, obviously. That was the first call that I made. But I had to think about how rich I wanted it. A Sunday burger is that burger you want when youre hung-over. You want your fingers to get greasy; its greasy in a good way. Thats the DuMont burger. I need a lunch burger, something a little considerate of our customers who have to go back to work. Then well season the burger with kosher salt, black pepper, and mustard powder, so theyll be a little extra sharpness, right on the burger.
Grilled? Broiled? Plancha?
Charbroiled. It really brings out the flavor of the seasonings.
And what goes on it?
Were going to do a red-wine onion red onions stewed in red wine, balsamic vinegar, and some secret spices. And thats it. Then the cheese will be a mixture of Maytag blue and mozzarella di bufala; well grind it together and make slices.
Some people detest blue cheese. Will that really be the only option?
No, I dont want it to be like, this is my burger, eat it or dont. Thats not my style. There will be other options. Relax.
Whats the bun going to be?
I dont think that brioche works. Its too soft, and it falls apart when the burger gives up its juice. Especially a big, eight-ounce burger like this one. I really like challah bread. Challah gives you the texture of bread. Which is important. You need flavor, but also some substance. Its all part of the bun-to-burger ratio. Well protect the bottom bun anyway with some lettuce, thatll just be there to keep the juice from soaking into the bread.
And when's the debut?
Monday, July 7. Thats B-day.