Barbecued cheeseburger with bacon
I went to Barney's with some fellow burger-lovers because of the restaurant's extensive burger menu. The burger menu actually isn't that extensive when you look at it more closely, however. It reads something like this:
Cheeseburger with bacon
Barbecued cheeseburger with bacon
and later on:
Chili bacon burger
Chili bacon cheeseburger
Chili, guacamole and cheese burger
You get the idea.
A disproportionate number of their burgers involve either chili or guacamole, which I think sounds completely repulsive. Granted, I hate chili, but I do love guac, so I feel somewhat unbiased in my assessment, even though I didn't try either (yeah, yeah).
I ordered a barbecued bacon cheeseburger. See, I passionately, passionately hate bacon, but I really like it on burgers and potato skins. Weird, I know. I ordered my burger medium well, which I know is blasphemous, but I didn't eat red meat for so many years that I just can't get over the pink meat thing--if it's still pink, it can't be ready to eat, can it? What if it starts bleeding, or worse, mooing, on my plate?
So yes, my burger was dry, but based on my extensive experience cooking burgers at home, I attribute the dryness to either the cooking method or to using meat with a low fat content. There's no excuse for a dry burger, no matter how you like it cooked. My homemade, pan-fried burgers with blue cheese, cumin, and kosher salt are plenty juicy (or perhaps just greasy, but that works for me). My friend had to send back her burger, it was so overdone.
Parmesan Burger--but that's not parmesan, that's provolone!
My other friend's parmesan burger had not a trace, not a hint of parmesan. Huh? The thick cut cajun fries were tasty and also made good leftovers when reheated in the toaster oven, but I thought that charging 35 cents extra for the cajun seasoning was pretty lame. Barney's also charges 35 cents extra for grilled onions on your burger, and 50 cents extra if you want a kind of cheese that isn't American. I hate the "build your own burger, but it will cost you" philosophy espoused by Barney's and the Library.
A major redeeming factor at Barney's (and the Library, hmm) is their massive beer list. I had a delicious Fat Tire (my long-time lover) and a raspberry cider from Canada, which was like a less sugary, more intersting alternative to Smirnoff Ice. There are no prices on the beer list, which is divided by region, but our beers ended up being $6 each, which is reasonable in Los Angeles (but just plain mean in St. Louis).
If you're not a burger fan, Barney's also makes, well, everything. Their menu is actually a small newspaper about the size of the Santa Monica Daily Press. Anyone could find something to eat here, including vegetarians.
The atmosphere is a lot like Chili's--noisy with tons of crap on the walls. There are also tons of TV's. If you sit at one of the booths lining the walls, you'll have four TV's to look at, so no matter what game you were hoping to catch, it will probably be on. Needless to say, I wouldn't take a date here, unless I wanted to get dumped for being a jackass.
Overall, Barney's isn't my kind of place--I could barely hear my friends across the table, which caused me to resign myself to watching the Nuggets fight through OT2 and checking out my old pal Sam Cassell swishing some free throws. Fortunately, I love basketball.
1351 Third Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Website (with complete menu)