What We’re Into, again: One of the best burgers in L.A. is back

The Spice Table cheeseburger is now available at Cassia.

Like a pop superstar who retires only to make a comeback years later, the Spice Table cheeseburger has returned.

The burger quickly became one of the signature lunch items at Bryant Ng’s downtown Los Angeles restaurant when it was introduced in 2011. Created by a rising chef who’d cooked at Pizzeria Mozza and at Daniel in New York, the sambal-laced “gourmet” burger was a rite of passage for a certain kind of food blogger.

But Spice Table closed seven years ago to make way for a subway station, and the burger was no more.

Until now. After years of customers begging for its return, Ng last month began serving the burger at his Santa Monica restaurant Cassia.

The patty is made with loosely ground short rib, cooked to a supple medium rare. The cheese is American, melted to goo. Ng adds chopped iceberg lettuce, a slice of tomato and some tart pickles, and smears the sesame seed bun in an addictively funky pink aioli made from Maggi sauce, shallots and yellow mustard. Then he crowns his mad creation with a drop-the-mic hit of fiery sambal.

Although the burger hasn’t made its way onto the regular menu yet, you can order it at Cassia’s bar Sunday through Thursday.


1314 7th St., Santa Monica, (310) 393-6699,

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10:42 a.m. Feb. 11, 2020: This post was updated with additional details on the burger’s availability.