Thursday, June 08, 2006

late night at lucky devils.

lucky devils customer

i find it's always a little bit of a struggle to find good late night food options in los angeles; they definitely exist, and there's an interesting variety available--tofu house for korean on wilshire, the original pantry downtown, daikokuya in little tokyo, to name a few--but i am such a night owl that i feel like i run through my options with alarming speed.

that's why i was happy find a new late night joint: lucky devils. i had just heard about it for the first time on my flight over, on a podcast of "good food", during a segment about great burgers in los angeles (okay, just a quick aside--i really didn't expect jonathan gold's voice to sound like it does). mr. gold recommended lucky devils' kobe beef burger and described it as being in the vein of the much-hyped father's office burger--quality beef, bleu cheese, applewood smoked bacon, onion confit, and arugula on a french roll. mr. gold also amusingly noted that the restaurant is owned by lucky vanous, one of those multi-hyphenated people running about hollywood (actor-model-restauranteur), who is best known as being the hott construction guy in a diet coke advert; vanous, gold said wryly (and still not in the voice i expected), has apparently created a menu that ensures that no one's body will ever look as good as his does.

and that he has. i felt it was only being charitable to check out the burger for burgerhounds reid and pieman's sake, so having found myself meandering through the streets of hollywood late one night, i was rather pleased to find that lucky devils is open until midnight on weekdays (3am on fridays and saturdays; note: the website says it's only open until 10 weekdays, but i'm pretty sure i came in around 11).

lucky devils interior

the space is modest and modern--concrete and chrome, red walls, and random plasma screens showing random extreme sports images. there's maybe 20 tables indoors, a few outside on the slightly dubious stretch of hollywood boulevard it's on, a refrigerated case filled with various desserts (mostly cupcakes), and what looks to be a dozen microbrewery beer/ale (and one root beer) taps behind a counter. a large blackboard above lists various specials, but the wordy one-page menu throws a few recommendations up on the very top. the menu is solid american fare--salads, burgers, sandwiches, mac and cheese, shakes, beers. shakes with beer (no really--there's a black and tan made with frozen custard and a porter ale that sounds delicious).

lucky devils chili dog

one of my companions ordered the chili dog (chili cheese dogs also available), a hefty foot-long beef frankfurter slathered with a slow-cooked non-bean, ground beef based chili, and served with a choice of french fries or green mesclun mix. i was told that the hot dog itself had a good snap and was juicy, but the chili was the star--only very mildly spiced and mildly tomatoey, solidly beefy and hearty.

lucky devils veggie burger

someone else had the veggie burger, which quite curiously resembled a rare meat burger as it was made from rice, beets, roasted peppers and paprika, then grilled. the result is a rather mildly spicy patty with an almost rare-cooked burger texture. it was served with several slices of avocado and a mild white (cheddar?) cheese, on a butter grilled brioche bun. while the diner enjoyed the unique burger, it was a carb monster, especially when paired with the rather excellent french fries, which were nicely crispy on the outside and fluffy tender within.

i hate to say it, but my photos of the kobe burger didn't turn out. if i return i'll definitely take a photo, but in the meantime, check out kiwichicky's rather excellent review and photos. i wimped out on the bacon cheeseburger, and just got a straightforward burger, which was brought to me somewhere in between medium rare and medium, grilled but not charred, on a bed of a mesclun mix and topped with a nice caramelized onion confit (i think it's described as a chutney on the menu), all on the same butter grilled brioche roll as the veggie burger. i don't eat many burgers, but i rather liked the mild flavour and texture of the kobe beef; in fact, the whole burger, whilst being quite a double-fisted handful, had such a nice balance of sweet onion, peppery greens, butter and beef flavour that i almost inhaled that thing down. i really would have, had i not remembered to stop a bit to really savour the flavour. a very good burger.

lucky devils toasted pecan frozen custard shake

we decided to split one of the milkshakes available--sadly, not the black and tan. we ordered the toasted pecan frozen custard shake, which was not so much a shake as a giant blender cup filled with frozen custard and topped with a more than generous amount of choped toasted pecans and whipped cream. it's acknowledged it's not a shake as it came with long metal spoons and not straws. the frozen custard is like a soft-serve ice cream, but with a silky, impossibly light texture that feels like velvet on the tongue and melts almost immediately; that combined with the almost smoky pecans was a simple but truly decadent way to end the meal.

the service was a bit slow, but there was only one waitress with 6 tables to cover, and she was quite efficient (although she seemed more enthusiastic about the beers available than the food). she didn't ask me how i'd like my burger to be cooked, so i assumed it would be medium rare, and was satisfied; the patrons at the table next to me were not, and sent back their meals to be re-cooked. i was rather perplexed by the television screens and the random bits of extreme sports shown, as they seemed completely without a context (maybe vanous is a x-sports enthusiast?) and not particularly conducive towards anything. also, the meal was so enjoyable i think i over-ate, and definitely felt full until mid-afternoon the next day. otherwise, lucky devils was a pleasant surprise in every way. i look forward to another feeding frenzy, although perhaps after a few more laps around the track.

lucky devils
6613 hollywood blvd
hollywood, 90028


Reid said...


The looks like a high class greasy spoon....just my kinda place! Thanks...I hope the burger was onolicious!...especially since it was INHALED! =P

Kirk said...

Hi Santos - If you think that LA lacked late night options, you'd die of starvation in San Diego - most everything closes by 9-10pm! Sometimes I would kill for our 24 hours Korean restaurants in LA....

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Thanks for the review. I think I should probably stay away since the last thing my thighs need is a huge slab of beef on a brioche bun!! Why do restaurants use every single decadent item to build a dish? Yeah, I know- for food lovers like us but damn them!

yoony said...

i do like their beer and fries. can't wait to try their burger! last time i went (also the first time) they gave me free cupcakes and the carrot one blew me away. the icing was awesome!

ryan said...

wow - first off, welcome back. awesome entry, killer photos. the kicker in the above posting for me, though, was the link to the jgold podcast. i love that you, have been reading his articles with a completely different voice.

Santos said...

reid--high class greasy spoon, that's the perfect term for it!

kirk--you HAVE to tell me where the good 24 hour korean restaurants are. or what to order at tofu house, because my last meal there was eh.

TAG,it's all our faults, we're eating all those decadent items :p

yoony! i read on kiwichicky's blog that the desserts are from a former chef from AOC, so i'm looking forward to trying all the desserts!

hey ryan, thanks for stopping by. yeah, i was completely taken aback by his voice--i'm not sure what i thought he'd sound like, but it wasn't as animated and as "normal" as what i heard.

Hailyn said...


Sorry about the radio silence for so long, but I've still been reading tsogb religiously. Make sure you try Full House Seafood, open until 3 am, if only for their salt and pepper squid and ginger onion crab. So excited you're here in LA. I think I owe you a dinner or two and want you to meet my girls.


Gail said...

mmm...meat, potato, dairy...accept no substitutes

Pieman said...

Nice work Santos, shame about the pics... I think I can do one better though. My freiend Brett gobbled down a $5,000 kobe burger in Las Vegas,

"Which, naturally, brings us back to Las Vegas. For it was from that city that a press release recently flowed announcing “the most extravagant and expensive burger experience ever conceived.” This was the Fleur-Burger 5000, topped with truffles and a slab of foie gras. Concocted by chef Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys at the Mandalay Bay Casino, the FleurBurger 5000 is named for its price tag, a cool $5,000. To be fair, your money also gets you a set of fine Italian stemware, a numbered certificate signed by Keller himself, and a pretty nice bottle of wine—a 1990 Chateau Petrus, which itself is on the wine list for $5,000 (The Petrus got 100 points from Robert M. Parker Jr., placing you just one spoonful of Beluga caviar away from the jackass superfecta.) Think of this burger as the Vegas version of a Happy Meal. And while you might expect a $5,000 burger to tuck you in at night, give you a lap dance, and teach you blackjack strategy, there’s no denying that it’s a juicy, beefy, extremely tasty piece of meat. Its target consumer, former wine director Staffan Gyllensten confides, is a casino whale losing enough at the baccarat tables to sign the restaurant bill to his comped room and never think about it again."


Santos said...

hailyn! hiya! long time no hear. i think i only have your official super-secret CIA government email address so please email me :P i would love to meet the mini-hailyns!

gail, right on the money with that!

pieman, wtf, $5000?! i'm going to vegas (maybe) but don't expect my review on a $5K meal--unless i win big at the pai gow tables, snorrrrrrrt.

Mila Tan said...

We used to drive to a hole in the wall Thai restaurant near Pomona at 3 a.m. for our late night college food binges. Cheap, tasty, had killer thai iced tea, and then drive all the way back to the Valley. Otherwise, I'd have to live with hitting the 24 hour supermarkets for Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream.

Santos said...

hole in the wall thai places are the best!

kiwichicky said...

just wanted to say thanks for linking me on your 'lucky devils' entry. great blog by the way! :)

Santos said...

hey kiwichicky, you've got a great blog!

Darío said...

It's great to read a post inspired by the need to eat latenight. Thanks for putting it on my radar, as I really like it now and was delighted to find grass-fed beef on part of the menu. Eager to see this place get certified as a Green Restaurant with GRA.