Twins Sliders in Hollywood Now Open: Burgers + Monster Twinkie Milkshakes
Someone really needs to start looking into this "walk-up window only" food phenomenon that's seemingly sweeping Los Angeles. Is it all the work of the the shadowy Big Window lobby? We may never know. One thing is for certain: Some of the city's tastiest new meals are being handed off on trays and in boxes. Plates need no longer apply.
Farley Elliott Twins Sliders
If you're into the walk-up window lifestyle, you'll probably have a nice, meaty time at Twins Sliders on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. The new mini burger and fried chicken sandwich concept from George Abou-Daoud, the man who owns every restaurant on that block and a few other great ones down the street too, opened late last month in the wall space between Mission Cantina and Delancey Pizzeria. The orange and pale blue facade, coupled with old-timey signage reminiscent of the sock hop days, is eerily similar to another walk-up window meat-and-bread place across town. And they both have milkshakes on the menu.
Speaking of which: A lot of Twins Sliders early press has centered on their 44-ounce monster milkshake, known as The Big One. It's a $20 nuclear warhead for diabetics and the lactose intolerant, filled with everything from fudge brownies and Captain Crunch cereal to bits of Butterfinger and a whole Twinkie. Ordering one is like a prank for your insides, though it's unclear who (if anyone) is really laughing last. By comparison, the diminutive chocolate, vanilla and strawberry milkshakes seem positively tame, although there's some hope for the $6 date shake.
Perhaps so much attention has been paid to The Big One because it occupies about 40% of the entire menu board real estate. Twins Sliders is not an expansive eatery; there are fried chicken sandwiches and hamburgers, plus a few options for french fries, and that's it. The sliders come in pairs only at six bucks a pop, though you can save a few pennies by upping your order volume. A six-pack (that's twelve McDonald's single cheeseburger-sized sandwiches) comes in at $30, which works out to a "buy ten get two free" deal.
How does the food stack up? Well, that depends on what you're comparing it to. The fried chicken sandwiches are tasty enough, with a juicy interior and a crunchy, slightly peppery batter. Toss on a couple of pickle slices, a smear of "Cajun dressing" and surround it all with a lightly griddled commercial white bun, and you've got the Twins Sliders rendition of a fried chicken sandwich. It won't beat out Son of a Gun for the title of best fried chicken sandwich, but at a quarter of the price, there's a lot of value to be had here. More than anything, the bird -- while listed as spicy -- offers no real tastebud kickback. Bring out the bottles of Crystal Hot Sauce or Frank's, and everyone would be happier.
On the burger side, things are even simpler. Ground beef, served thicker and more compact than the low-brow burger stands you might be used to, gets draped with American cheese, some slightly caramelized onions, a round or two of pickle and a wisp of Thousand Island dressing. It's a Southern California inspiration all the way, but without the perfected griddle sear that makes or breaks the concoction. What's left is a decent rendition of a fast food burger, but lacking in the salty, crisped edges that everyone tries to save as the last bite when they're plowing through an In-N-Out double double.
After a little quick math (six divided by two, for anyone who needs to break out the pencil and paper at home), an individual cheeseburger slider at Twins Sliders works out to $3, pre-tax. That's In-N-Out money, where the use of a griddle and Thousand Island dressing has already been largely perfected. So at the end of the day, are you willing to skip the In-N-Out drive thru line for a slightly inferior burger at the same price? Twins Sliders better hope so.
Farley Elliott Dirty Fries at Twins Sliders
At least there's some love from the french fry side of the menu. These freshly-cut spuds are thin and crispy, with just enough soft potato insides to stay on your fork and provide some balance on your tongue. A bald order comes in at $2, but the Dirty Fries are the way to go. That means your shoestrings come dumped with American cheese and Thousand Island dressing, sort of like the popular secret menu fries available at another Southern California classic-style burger operation. You know, the one with the red and white logo and the palm trees.
For as much as Twins Sliders isn't trying to outright mimic anyone else, the price, style and flavor comparisons between other existing L.A. eateries like In-N-Out and Top Round are going to be inevitable for a while. At least until those new Emerson College campus buildings open up next door, flooding the walk-up window with hungry college kids who don't feel like piling into someone's car just to get a burger somewhere else. Until then, Twins Sliders remains a decent value for straightforward food -- plus a milkshake the size of your head, with ingredients that'll stop your heart.
Twins Sliders is open daily on Sunset Blvd. just west of Bronson. Weekdays, they're open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and they do dinner service only on Saturdays and Sundays, opening at 6 p.m.
Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Farley Elliott writes about food, drink and entertainment at OverOverUnder.com.