This week, Besha Rodell visits Echo Park to review Button Mash, the arcade game hall/restaurant by owners Jordan Weiss and Gabe Fowlkes in partnership with Nguyen and Thi Tran of Starry Kitchen fame. Although the wide variety of cheap video games and craft beer certainly contribute to the line that stretches around the building on Friday nights, the Weekly critic hones in on the food that "isn't an exact replica of what was served at any of the pop-up's iterations," but is "more like a greatest-hits album of Asian and American drunk food."
Along with Starry Kitchen's popular tofu balls, which B. Rod describes as "better here; crisper, larger, softer on the inside, the corn and green onions popping more, the sriracha aioli more bawdily perfect for the occasion," there's a slew of "bar-food excellence," like lacquered double-fried chicken wings and a perfected cheeseburger:
There's a cheeseburger that is, like the games, pure old-school nostalgia. Usually this is where I'd say they've "elevated" the burger, but I don't think that's the word for it: This is a devotional product, the celebration of an iconic dish rather than an attempt to better it. A lot of thought has gone into this thing, from the way the ingredients are stacked (mustard, meat, American cheese, Boston lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle) to the intense crisp on the patties. It's really tall and really good in a really base kind of way. [LAW]
Button Mash's take on drunk food receives two stars.
The Elsewhere: The Weekly selects the 10 best restaurants in Pasadena, kevinEats enjoys dim sum at Shanghai No.1, and Bill Esparza eats corn smut off the Huitlacoche Truck.