Thu, May 14 2009 03:44 PM Posted By: Karen Salkin
Tom's #5 Burgers
9004 Venice Boulevard
After all these years, and even having just eaten at a Tom’s #5, I still don’t understand if there are several #5s or if each one has its own #, and how many there are. I wish I could clear it up for you, but I’m afraid I can’t. So, in my review, the only one of this chain that I can vouch for is the one on Venice, on the outskirts of Culver City. I do know, though, that the Tom’s Chiliburgers chain has nothing to do with the original Tommy’s Burgers near downtown. Just like Wilson, the Culver City restaurant, has nothing to do with Wilson, the volleyball-friend of Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “Castaway.”
Lucky for me, I had my teenage burger expert, Taylor Bennett, visiting from New York. He’s a true burger purist—he eats the meat only—no bun (though in this case, it was a nice, seeded one), veggies, chili, cheese, or even condiments! He said this burger was great and even went back for seconds. He also tried a naked hot dog, while I had one with my usual ketchup and chopped onions. We loved them, each in our own way. (Isn’t that the way life’s supposed to be?) My favorite part of the dog is that they butterfly it (not many places are savvy enough to do that), which makes it grill up perfectly and provides the center to fill with condiments, rendering it one of the best I’ve ever had.
I had the same sentiment about my patty melt. No exaggerating, it just may be the best one ever, due in part to the superbly crisp rye bread. Eadie was happy with her tuna sandwich, which she declared “yummy and tasty,” while Lauren enjoyed her “delicious” pastrami sandwich on a long, soft roll. We all agreed the fries were a supreme hit. The four of us finished a giant boxful, and liked them the “Taylor way”—pure, with no chili or cheese. The crunchy outside and soft inside gave them the consummate consistency. (FYI—we did try the signature chili, but weren’t fans. Since we were thrilled with everything else we ate, it didn’t matter.)
We got full, so I brought most of the turkey sandwich to Mr. X, who gobbled it. (Unintentional pun.) They toast their bread and grill it all up fresh right in front of you, so everything has a homemade feel. For a burger joint, Tom’s #5 has a big menu. They feature a wider variety of beverages than one would imagine, including my favorite Orange Bang. And breakfast is served till 11 a.m., and includes waffles and omelets.
When we stopped in, I was expecting to order at a window and have to eat in the car. I was pleasantly surprised to see several tables inside, not even on top of each other, and we were quite comfortable on a hot day.
The best part is that their prices are more than reasonable, so if you can’t decide between a burger and a hot dog, you can have them both. Just tell Tom that Taylor sent you!
© 2009 Culver City News