More Than a Pub Cheeseburger

King's Row hits a home run

Saturday, January 11, 2014 | 11:26 pm

(Editor’s Note: Cheeseburger Week in Pasadena officially began today, but we’ve been sampling all this past week, just to keep up, and we’ve tasted a lot of great cheeseburgers so far. Now batting, King’s Row Gastropub in Old Pasadena.)

“A burger is just a burger until you make a better burger,” says Jim Fraley, manager at King’s Row Gastropub. That’s tough talk, but the guys at King’s Row make one quietly spectacular cheeseburger. Served on a brioche, (as is everyone’s these days), with two beef patties, thin-sliced red onions (which I surgically removed), arugula, tomatoes and a house-made American cheese, it’s innocuous until you taste it.

The cheeseburger at King's Row. It's all about the cheese, man.

That house-made American cheese, friends, is the difference. The beef in their smallish burger is flavorful and juicy, but Chef Sundeep Vohra and his lieutenant Sous Chef Greg Schutt, have developed their own delicious cheese in–house, and it truly sets their burger apart.

I was frankly startled by the flavor. In so many burgers, the cheese is merely texture; just a difference in the bite. At King’s Row, it could easily steal the show, if you let it.

The cheeseburger is served with fresh-cut french fries, and all of the items served here really seemed to be a cut above everyday pub food. Come for the beer and stay for the food, seems to be the successful idea here.

But we came here to talk cheeseburgers, and I remember vividly my dining companion and I suddenly looking at each other, and laughing at the same time, “Maybe the best one yet!”

Keep in mind that 40 restaurants are participating in Cheeseburger Week, and we’re only profiling 12 of them. There are a lot of great cheeseburgers out there, but we really like this one.

So, anything can happen—this is our fourth day of cheeseburgers—but at this moment, King’s Row Gastropub is rocking one seriously excellent cheeseburger.

It’s basically a large, vaguely traditional brick-walled pub with hundreds of beers tucked into an arcade in Old Pasadena, but if the beer is anything like the food, you’re drunk every night. In a good way.

King’s Row Gastropub is at 20 East Colorado Blvd. (626) 793-3010.

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