Since 1935 The Bucket in Eagle Rock has been serving humongous grilled burgers to LA fanatics. Burgers that are big and reasonably priced, therefore a review is but germane to the cause of keeping this old legend alive and kicking.
I was a customer a few times but was never really impressed. On its new owner, it is but time to give it another go and see if there’s an improvement that may assist to its waning viability. The 80’s music, high stools, wooden tables, surf boards, neon lights, and flat panel TVs looked like hybrid of a Manhattan Beach joint/a Rock and Roll club/a Sports Bar. Guard against the wooden tables and high stools, crossing your legs may leave you with a few scratches here and there. But then isn’t it all about the food? Let’s leave the facade behind and dig further inside The Bucket.
Burgers come in different styles (no veggie burgers here though). The Bucket Burger is a 1/2 lb. plain Jane, just with the usual lettuce, tomato, pickles, etc. There’s the mushroom burger with, well, grilled mushrooms. They also have a Freddy, their green chili burger. The Julio (name of former owner) comes with grilled onions, cheddar cheese, added with Julio’s sauce (a tangy cayenne, garlic, and mustard concoction) and it becomes dinner on your shirt. Then there’s the Mild Cardiac or Cardiac that is indeed heart attack waiting on a plate: two 1/2 lb patties, shaved ham, grilled onions, sauteed mushrooms, and the usual burger partners.
Their burgers have always been a dilemma. Sometimes dripping juicy, sometimes cardboard dry. Sometimes they go overboard with the seasoning, sometimes you need to ask for the salt and pepper shakers. Common ground though is that they’re all messy. Genius is the one that put rolled paper towels on each table.
The Julio sauce is always overly mustardy, if you can describe it as that. I didn’t like the overuse of it on my burger, my fries, or my shrimp. Damn this Julio. The fries were reinvented from the usual strips to the potato chip topped with cabbage and smothered in Julio sauce, but also inconsistent. Soggy or crispy, I understand they’re hand-cut and it takes a while to fry but if you make people wait then make sure you make the wait worth it. The fried shrimp were crispy, breaded lightly, but tiny (size and portion).
A little more consistency will definitely make this place live up to its legend again. Because during the times when they were good, they were really really good. Maybe the next few visits will be a different experience, and this place will lend itself a new reputation for good comfort burgers.