The New Animal-Style

Sixth St. Tavern serves its own version of the In-N-Out cheeseburger

Greg Bernhardt has always had a healthy respect for the classics.

During his days as chef de cuisine at Church & State and as sous chef at LudoBites, that meant riffing on Continental specialties such as coq au vin and tarte flambée.

These days, at the recently opened Sixth St. Tavern, he's putting his spin on another classic: In-N-Out's Animal-Style Cheeseburger.

For his Classic Burger ($11), Bernhardt forms two thin patties from grass-fed Paso prime beef, cooks them just below medium, then paves them with a double helping of melted American cheese. Next come grilled onions, iceberg lettuce, tomato, house pickles and, of course, the not-so-secret sauce.

The result is a surprising ringer for the famous Double-Double. Even if you've never waited hungrily in the SoCal chain's drive-through line, you'll appreciate the harmony of this perky, perfectly portioned burger. We're already daydreaming about our next one.

The theme of revamped classics continues with the juicy, horseradish-enhanced French Dip ($11), and the Club Sandwich ($11), made with crisp duck confit and thin shavings of ham. There's an impressive local beer list too, along with Tiki-tinged cocktails, like the nutmeg-dusted Painkiller ($10) and the refreshingly tropical Sixth St. Sling ($10).

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, L.A. should be blushing right about now.