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Scouting Report: Burgers Brian Huskey's way at the Holloway in Echo Park

Scouting Report: Burgers Brian Huskey's way at the Holloway in Echo Park
The Holloway burger with smoky ketchup, caramelized onions and cheddar cheese on a brioche bun. (Jenn Harris)

Name: The Holloway

Chef: "Top Chef" alum Brian Huskey, who worked with Ricardo Zarate to open Mo-Chica, Picca and Paiche.

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Concept: If you visited the space when it was Alumette, helmed by then-chef Miles Thompson, expect a complete 180. The restaurant and bar have been transformed into a version of a classic diner, with black vinyl booths, black tile, a jukebox in the corner and two flat-screen TVs. There's also an entire wall covered in band flyers from the '80s. The menu is a selection of reimagined diner classics with a focus on burgers and thick-cut fries, a few salads (yes, there is kale) and banana bread pudding. On the weekend there's brunch, with a breakfast sandwich, French toast, smoked salmon toast and a diner plate of eggs, bacon and fries. The Holloway is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, so expect a full house after a show at the Echoplex. 

What dish represents the restaurant and why? The Holloway Burger. It's a classic burger Huskey's way made with his own blend of beef. The meat is topped with a thick slice of cheddar cheese, a couple squirts of smokey house ketchup, butter lettuce and jammy caramelized onions, all served on a brioche bun. Don't attempt to cut this thing. Just pick it up, attack and lick the dripping juices off the sides of your fingers.

Runners up: An heirloom tomato and burrata salad doesn't often make an appearance on a diner menu, but Huskey's version fits right in. The red, yellow and orange tomatoes are roasted until they blister. The sweet tomatoes are served with a chunk of milky burrata, some frisee, shreds of opal basil and French beans. And if you're in the mood for seafood, order the Crustacean. It's a burger made with a shrimp cake, pickled green papaya and carrot slaw, and a charred lemon and green onion dressing.

Who's at the next table: A well-tatted crew wearing baseball caps, cheering on the San Francisco Giants at a booth against the back of the restaurant. They all clutch glasses of beer as they hoot and holler. The Giants fans eventually leave to make way for the Dodgers fans. They sit at the bar, order their food then silently stare at the TVs. Occasionally someone looks away long enough to take a bite of a burger.

What are you drinking? The Holloway Old Fashioned made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, El Dorado aged rum and orange bitters, served in a glass with plenty of ice and a straw. It's not what you're expecting when you order an Old Fashioned, but that's the point. There's a full bar, with beer and a small selection of wine.

Uh-oh: You order at the bar, then sit at a table. This isn't a problem when the place isn't crowded. Once the seats at the bar fill up, good luck elbowing in to get the bartender's attention.

Info: 1320 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 221-7615

There's nothing wrong with drinking before 5 p.m. Follow me on Twitter @Jenn_Harris_

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