Burger Bar San Francisco is the third Burger Bar restaurant from famed Michelin star chef, Hubert Keller. Nestled in the middle of the Macy’s building off Union Square, you take an elevator up to the sixth floor and enter the front of the restaurant. True to its name, a good third of the space is devoted to a dark wood cocktail tables and a bar covered with flat screens showing the game of the moment. (College basketball, today.) The back has more dark wood in booths, four-tops, and chairs. The hostess was nice enough to seat us next to the window, and she was the first host I’ve ever had who made small talk while leading us to our table, instead of doing so silently.
We started with an appetizer of fish and chips that came with a side of garlic fries. The fish were perfectly fried, not greasy or oily at all. Garlic fries were seasoned well; you could taste a bit of the garlic without chewing on any real chopped garlic and getting garlic breath.
The Husband ordered a Kobe burger (medium rare) with grilled onions, American cheese, and Jack cheese on a ciabatta bun with fries on the side. I got the Peppercorn Burger which is some sort of beef with peppercorns and a peppercorn cream sauce. Burger Bar gives you the opportunity to customize a burger (meat choices including Kobe, Angus, Buffalo) with a selection of toppings (including $30 for 1/3 pound of Black Truffles). My burger came with a side of sweet potato fries. (I just exclaimed, “Yum!” and gave the MacBook a thumbs up.)
I don’t know how the Husband’s burger was. He wouldn’t let me try it. Oh, I guess that means it was pretty good. He also got a milkshake. It was pretty much entirely ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry on top. (“Pretty much entirely ice cream” is a good thing.)
My Peppercorn Burger was damn good. The medium rare beef was nice and pink on the inside, juicy and melt-in-your-mouth. The top of the beef patty was some sort of horseradish sauce with ground and whole black, pink, and white peppercorns. The peppercorn cream sauce had whole black peppercorns and was pretty much just cream. I’m not a chef – I don’t even cook – so I don’t know. But I didn’t taste much else but cream and peppercorns. Unfortunately, the Peppercorn Burger was too peppery for me. They could have laid off the peppercorns in the sauce or put half the amount they put on the beef patty. I could feel and taste the pepper right up in my sinuses, like a jalapeno pepper had just socked me in the nose. Beyond that, I shoved the burger in my mouth in a hurry because it was so damn good.
The sweet potato fries were perfect. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and wonderfully sweet and sweet-potato-y.
We were stuffed after this. I wanted to try the Nutella Burger (donut, Nutella, scrumptiousness) but couldn’t even finish my fries. We actually took all the fries home in a box.
All in all, Burger Bar San Francisco gets four stars from me, out of five. It would have gotten five but I know of Pearl’s which has nearly the same quality of burger for half the price. Pearl’s is also in the Tenderloin and fast-food-like, but you know. You get what you pay for. I’m mainly focused on the nom nom nom and not so much the environment.
Would I go back to Burger Bar again? Sure. They have an excellent Lunch Special for $12, including a drink, which ends at 4 pm. This place would also be a good one for after-work drinks: they have a letter-sized page of beers, another page of wines, and a small selection of specialty cocktails – including alcoholic milkshakes and beer floats! I didn’t know that was possible – wouldn’t the ice cream and milk separate from the liquor? I don’t know.