Fairfax or Bust

The Golden State hits the mark with burger fans and beer geeks

Who knew that the area around Canter's Deli would become a hotbed for artisanal food and drink? A year after Animal brought its stripped-down meat haven to the Fairfax District block, there's now The Golden State, a must-stop for foodies and beer geeks alike.

With little more than an open kitchen and a few photos on the walls, The Golden State looks like a typical neighborhood café. But the menu reads like a brewpub's–one with a penchant for name-dropping where the ingredients come from.

The burger ($10) isn't fancy, just really good meat (Harris Ranch prime beef, ground daily at nearby Huntington Meats), sharp Fiscalini Farms cheddar cheese, smoky bacon and a soft Röckenwagner bun. But it's grilled to perfection and juicy every time–easily one of the best-tasting in town. Regulars know to stop in for weekly specials like the moist Colorado lamb burger with dill-yogurt sauce ($12; Thursdays only), and crisp, flaky fish and chips ($12; Fridays and Saturdays). The citrusy Persian cucumber salad makes a great side.

For the beers, you'll find Allagash Curieux on tap, but also one-off kegs like Stone Brewing's Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, a crisp, black IPA. Of course, you can always try the beer float made with Scoops brown bread gelato.

The Golden State, 426 N. Fairfax Ave., Mid-City; 323-782-8331 or thegoldenstatecafe.com