Monday, December 14, 2009

Original Tops- Pasadena

Original Tops
3838 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

I first heard about The Original Tops when I went to Gus's BBQ. I believe the owners of Tops bought Gus's BBQ. Tops has been in Pasadena since 1952. This is the original location. There are other places called Tops, even in pretentious jerk Orange County, but they have nothing to do with this location. I have a feeling the original owners were from Chicago, since they have a Maxwell Street Polish Dog and a Chicago hot dog, though they do not use Vienna hot dogs, they use Hebrew National.

I decided to give Tops a try and wanted to go to Pasadena before it is invaded by T-sips and hicks for the National Championship game. This is a no frills diner style burger place. The burgers are charbroiled on a grill and prices are a bit higher than other comparable places. So I get the Kobe Bistro Burger, $6.79, with half pound of American Kobe beef, smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, tomato, mixed greens, herb mayo on a ciabatta bun. The first thing I noticed about this burger was the size, huge!! I asked them if they could cut it in half, they did, and I was impressed at the size of both pieces.

What was interesting was the taste of each half. One half the Kobe beef was cooked well done, I would have prefered it medium rare, but the other half had burnt pieces, which isn't good.

I like everything they put on the burger, the fresh mixed greens were a nice touch and a welcomed changed from iceberg lettuce. The mozzarella was melted and didn't overpower the taste of the meat as some other cheeses tend to do. The caramelized onions and herb mayo was a good combination. I loved the ciabatta bun, lots of texture, soft and chewy. Good stuff.

Service was pretty good. Nice friendly people. But my burger took a little longer, ther were people behind me who got their burger orders before me. Either they forgot my order or it takes longer to cook the Kobe burger. Either way, not that big of a deal since the burger was hot and fresh off the grill.

I saw people order the onion rings, fries, and zucchini sticks and they looked great. I would go back to Tops to try their hot dog or Polish dog, other sandwiches and burgers but I don't think I would go back for the Kobe Bistro burger.

Update Dec 17, 2009

I was back in the Pasadena area and decided to go back to Tops for the onion rings, $2.89, and polish dog, $3.89.

The onion rings are among the best onion rings I have ever had. Super light and crispy, outside with some pepper in the seasoning. Not greasy at all. Inside a wonderful sweet onion, not greasy.

The polish dog came with grilled onions and mustard. The onions were just piled onto the polish, too much for my tastes. The onions made for a soggy, messy bun, which wasn't grilled or anything. The polish dog was grilled but was pretty salty. It had a nice snap but I couldn't get over the saltiness of the polish dog. The polish sausage at Costco for $1.50 is bigger and better. I wouldn't order this again.

I wish I got better service though. I got terrible service. The young girl who took my order had a lot of attitude and quite simply, she was a bitch. From the moment I asked what comes on the polish dog, she was a bitch. Why she copped an attitude because I asked what comes on a polish dog, is beyond me. When my order was ready, she never even said thank you. Terrible service and Tops needs to do something about it.

As I said before, Tops is a higher priced burger place. I didn't think the polish sausage was any good and the Kobe burger was underwhelming. After the terrible service, I won't return anytime soon.