Belcampo Meat Co. Santa Monica (Three More Nights!)
[Yet another apology for the radio silence on the blog. Life’s been busy. I’m still eating, of course, and you can follow along on my Instagram feed! As for the blog, I know it’s way past the beginning of the new year, but I’m making a resolution to post at least once a month. This should be doable. The ultimate goal is to post once a week, but baby steps…]
Belcampo Meat Co.‘s cheeseburger at their Grand Central Market shop has been getting a lot, and I mean a lot, of love on Chowhound. GCM’s a bit tough for me to get to for weekday lunch, and I haven’t had a chance to go on a weekend yet, but luckily for me, and other Westsiders, Belcampo is opening a butcher shop/restaurant in Santa Monica. The grand opening isn’t until late summer or possibly fall, but they have been doing a limited-run dinner service Tuesdays through Saturdays, 5 PM to 10 PM, from late April until late May. I managed to grab a quick dinner there a few Fridays ago.
Update: I just heard from a friend who dined there this week that their last night of service (until they reopen) will be this Saturday, May 24, 2014. Just three more nights!
Cheeseburger & Tallow Fries, $16.50: After reading all the hype, of course I had to order this. Unlike at GCM, the burger is not available on its own, only with fries (at least according to the menu–I did not ask if I could order only the burger). The price is the same as at GCM, where the burger is $12.50 and the fries are $4. I was able to substitute the tallow chips at no additional cost.
The burger was quite superb. I tried not to have too high an expectation of it, and maybe that helped, but I really could not find any fault with it. It’s not a gut bomb or a flavor bomb or any kind of explosives. The word that kept coming to mind as I ate it was “balanced”. The hamburger patty was not too loose or packed and was cooked perfectly medium-rare. The brioche bun was replete with sesame seeds, even on the bottom half! While it looked a little big for the patty, it really was exactly the right substantiality for the amount of meat. The butter lettuce was bright, the cheese not too sharp. Everything served to highlight the meat, which tasted very fresh. The chips were light and thin, and actually reminded me of Pringles, but in a good way (if that’s possible). I also enjoyed the house ketchup and aioli served with the burger and chips.
Beef Heart Skewers, $7: Since I love all things offal, I had to get the beef heart skewers. Heart’s probably the most accessible of all offal as it’s just muscle, so it doesn’t taste all that different from the “regular” meat people are used to eating. The portion size was a little small, but what I found disappointing was that the individual pieces of heart were so small that they were a bit overcooked.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Belcampo Santa Monica. I have heard great things about their Flatiron Steak Frites, $31, from various sources, and I’m hoping to go there at least one more time before they close for renovations. Their GCM location is also on my to-try list. Their Cabeza Frita Cemita (fried pigs head & trotter sandwich) looks tailor-made for me!
Belcampo Meat Co.
1026 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401