Photos By Tiago Sperotto for Wine & Bowties
Passions are an interesting phenomena. To the passionate individual they may not always realize what exactly their passion is. However to observers around them, it is clear and quite evident. Recently I had the chance to observe an individual with the utmost passion and respect for food. As I stood in front of the counter at the Golden State, I was asked by owner and co-founder Jason Bernstein how I’d like my burger cooked. “Medium rare,” he suggested, before I could answer. “Umm no, medium well,” I replied. A look of agitation crossed his face, as if he had been confronted by ignorance once again. “It’s better medium rare… trust me.” Jason stated with a stern face. “Cool your jets bro,” I thought to myself. But alas, he was more than right. He went on to lecture me about the science of the burger patty, relating to me the benefits of a burger cooked rare, which is in fact more flavorful and larger in size than a burger well done. As I finished my meal, I came back to thank Jason for the recommendation, his passion for his craft aptly satisfying my taste buds.
The Golden State is a unique place. Born from the minds of high school friends Jason Bernstein and James Starr, the duo came together to create a one of a kind eatery nestled within the Jewish community of Fairfax. The cafÃ© offers a straight forward yet sophisticated lunch and dinner menu that in their own words, consists of the best ingredients and food products California has to offer. And it shows. Eating at The Golden State is an experience. The Golden State burger, quite possibly the most popular item on the menu is an ensemble of flavor. Made from aged Harris Ranch beef, Fiscalini Farms cheddar, Glazed Applewood smoked bacon, tomatoes and balsamic dressing, each ingredient plays a starring role in every bite.
Set in the midst of a street wear haven, across the street from Flight Club and down the street from Reserve, The Golden State serves as that necessary food break from a day out. A destination within itself, patrons are also drawn to the unique selection of gelato, unassumingly served alongside the burgers, fries and beer. With names like Cheesecake Oreo and Chocolate Peanut Butter, the gelatos do not disappoint, rather serving as a welcome and refreshing dessert after your meal.
Jason and James state that they find the greatest gratification in seeing diners enjoying themselves and their food. Throughout the meal you’re constantly checked on by one of the two, as they make sure you’re enjoying your meal and experiencing it as they intended. When asked what’s the meaning of customer service they simply replied, “Everything.”
To run a successful restaurant appears to be a production of epic proportions. However Jason and James seem to accomplish this feat with grace, as if they were born to do it. In addition to the food available, the cafÃ© also serves distinguished beers and hard to find wines, selected with painstaking care, to deliver only the best of the best. Beer selections from premiere California breweries such as the Craftsman Brewery in Pasadena and the North Coast Brewery in Fort Bragg further exemplify the attention to detail that embodies the essence of The Golden State. But in the end, their philosophy is quite simple, a “talent show for the best makers of food and drink in California.” In the words of the owners, think of the restaurant as a stage, where the best products of California are the actors themselves. An experience to be had, and one that will surely not disappoint. The Golden State is one of those places you’ll have trouble going to just once. The kind of place that you’ll remember forever.
The Golden State
426 N Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 782-8331
Open Noon – 10PM Tuesday – Sunday (Closed Monday)