Food & Drink | June 23, 2023 6:44 am

Here’s How to Make Mr. T’s Insta-Famous French Burger at Home

It all begins with a cooking torch

burger with fries
This burger recipe will give you an elevated In-N–Out delicacy
Mr. T

How do you make the perfect French cheeseburger translate in America? That was the challenge facing restaurateur Guillaume Guedj, the brains behind Parisian bistro Mr. T, and his stateside executive chef, Alisa Vannah. In France, the original Mr. T serves a cheeseburger with charred eggplant and flambéed cheese. But while that might work for a French palate, aubergine hits different on American tastebuds. In order to round out their menu in LA — which also includes French classics like Cornish game hen, mac ‘n’ cheese (which they also flambé à la table) and steak beurre blanc — they simplified, referencing a more local burger vibe: In-N–Out

“The burger has been adapted for Los Angeles tastebuds, [so] we switched out charred eggplant cream with our ‘Mac T sauce’, which is an elevated take on In-N-Out sauce, complete with fried onions,” Vannah says. “The sauce is created using Kewpie mayo, ketchup, Dijon mustard, cornichons and Maggi seasoning.” While the secret sauce might be a welcome swap from eggplant for some, there’s one thing that Mr. T didn’t dismantle, and that’s a table-side flambé of the cheese, a dramatic torching that transforms the burger from a run-of-the-mill order into something much more exciting. 

Just check Instagram to get a sense of how much diners love watching the cheese bubble and melt, then squishing the bun back down on all of it. “We use a French contemporary technique because it’s our background and the burger follows the same concept,” Guedj says. “We wanted to do an elevated burger using American Wagyu beef. We incorporated a French cheese, Comté, which is flambéed, bringing an incredible depth of flavor. For us, it’s equally about the taste and the presentation.”

This Recipe Is for Advanced Burger-Makers Only

It starts with about a pound of Key West shrimp

Since their opening in Hollywood last year, the bistro has held its own among heavyweight neighbors like Gigi’s, Tartine and Mother Tongue, drawing both a neighborhood crowd and out-of-towners to the now-bustling Sycamore Avenue. And whether you’re a local or a visitor, the spectacle of a torched cheeseburger is going to be a draw. “The Comté cheese flambé makes the burger very special, with the grilled cheese flavor and aroma,” Vannah says. “We torch the cheese in front of our guests so they can smell the grilled cheese right away.” 

Translating global recipes with French techniques has always been Mr. T’s mission, so splitting the difference between American expectations and traditional methods was par for the course for their kitchen. “We use the best local ingredients seasonally to recreate global street food favorites from around the world using contemporary French technique,” Guedj says. “This concept allows guests of Mr. T to travel through our menu and fosters a sense of unity through food. This burger is a whole experience — the presentation, the taste and the show when it’s served.”

For those who have their own commercial-grade cooking torches ready to go at home, along with some Comté and Kewpie mayo, here’s the step-by-step instructions for impressing your friends and loved ones with a Parisian-style American cheeseburger. 

Mr. T Los Angeles Cheeseburger

Servings: 4

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs. ground beef (65% brisket, 25% chuck, 10% Wagyu)
  • 2 oz. alfalfa sprouts
  • 2 oz. broccoli sprouts 
  • 2 oz. radish sprouts 
  • Brioche burger buns 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup egg yolk
  • 1½ cup Comté cheese, shredded 
  • ½ cup Mimolette cheese
  • 7 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups Kewpie mayo
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup chopped cornichon pickles 
  • 5 grams Maggi seasoning 
Directions
  • For the burgers
    1. Start by shaping the patties in a ring mold to about 5.5 to 6 oz each. That will create the perfect round shape and diameter for the meat. Make sure the patty is tight so it won’t break while cooking. In a hot cast iron, cook the patties for about 3 minutes on each side. After the meat is cooked, gently toast the bun in that same cast iron.

  • For the cheese sauce 
    1. In a wide pot over low heat, add the cream and egg yolk and slowly stir until the mixture reaches about 120 degrees. Slowly add the cheeses and whisk until all the cheese is melted. Blend the resulting cheese sauce in a blender and pass it through a fine strainer. After the cheese sauce is ready, put it into a gourmet whip cream whipper.

  • Assembly
    1. Once everything is cooked, combine the mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles and Maggi, then spread the sauce on both sides of the buns. On the bottom of the buns, place all three sprout varieties. Place the patty on top and then squirt the cheese sauce on top of the patty. Finally, brûlée the cheese sauce with a torch.