Burger Bar, San Francisco CA
Friday night in San Francisco is not as busy as we thought. We anticipated hoards of determined locals and/or wonder-struck tourists, but it was fairly easy to make our way to the sixth floor of Macy’s on O’Farrell and the Burger Bar. There is a location in Las Vegas, plus two international sites opening this year in Mexico City and Beijing, and we’re lucky to have this one in the City.
We had dessert first with this trio of the most popular milkshake flavors: strawberry, caramel latte, and Nutella. Zach’s favorite was the strawberry because it was very rich in strawberry flavor, “not grotesquely sweet,” plus a benefit for him was that there were no seeds (he can’t eat seeds and unprocessed nuts). The caramel latte was a delight with tiny butterscotch chips sprinkled over the whipped cream, and August thought it tasted like a super creamy caramel frappuccino. She liked it, but she couldn’t get enough of the Nutella. It’s been that way her whole life, as one of her early memories is sneaky spoonfuls of Nutella straight from the jar in her parents’ pantry. All three were equally decadent, and Zach felt the whipped cream in particular was thick and extra rich.
Each Burger Bar location has/will have its own specialty burger. Las Vegas claims fois gras since California can’t anymore, so now California’s specialty comes with Kobe beef stuffed with braised short rib meat, covered in sauteed spinach, layered with a lobster tail, garnished with shaved black truffle, and served on an onion bun with a side of truffle sauce. The meat was intensely flavorful, the texture was great, and it was cooked ideally to August’s desired temperature. The short rib was a pleasant addition. The spinach was cleaned perfectly with no sand to impede on the mouth feel. The lobster tail was big, sweet, and fresh, which paired very well with the burger meat. The shaved black truffles were surprisingly thick and super pungent (we are at the tail end of the season, anyway). The truffle sauce had a black pepper base that August loved for dipping her curly fries. Everything about the plate was impeccable.
With an array of amazing toppings, Zach couldn’t resist combining some of the most stellar to create his dinner masterpiece. The ciabatta bun had a crispy exterior with a light and fluffy middle. He ordered a Kobe patty, which he thought was seasoned well and fairly lean for being Kobe. He picked two cheeses, cheddar and Swiss, which melted under the superbly sweet and tender caramelized onions. The bacon was crisp and smoky, and “it was not as fatty as your typical bacon.” Next came a fried egg with no slimy white left and it wasn’t cooked too quickly so there was no rubbery skin, either, though the yolk was super runny and delicious. Black truffle shavings were definitely high quality and a great topper, followed closely by the truffle aioli which had a decent amount of actual fresh black truffle in it! Zach wasn’t too sure if he wanted to get the tiny tureen of truffle sauce, but he was glad he did because he ended up pouring it all over his burger and bread; it had an exceptionally deep flavor.
“Jalapeño” should not scare you – August didn’t think these were hot at all. The pickles are marinated in jalapeño juice with jalapeños, but there is no discernible heat to worry about. Beer battered, deep fried, and served with house-made buttermilk ranch dressing, these are crispy salty delights with jalapeño flavor, just no kick.
Service was exceptional, friendly and outgoing. Our server Shawn and the manager Rich were both very professional and accommodating. This is not a place that our wallets can afford too often for the flavors that we like, but we’re looking forward to the next visit all the same. There are more fairly priced items to choose from (not everything has to have truffle), so we will revisit and report sometime in the future.