About Scott R Kline
Scott R. Kline is a photographer, father, traveler, husband and burger-lover based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He loves road trips, Burning Man, scotch whiskey, mid-century furniture, his dog Rex, building houses in Mexico, and seeing what comes next in life. You can visit the Facebook page for Scott R. Kline Photography at http://tinyurl.com/2eodlxu.
Latest Posts by Scott R Kline
Umami Burger in the Cow Hollow area of San Francisco is one of several California locations of this upscale burger chain. The space is dark and inviting. We arrived around six on a Thursday evening and to our surprise were ushered right to our butcher block table. We have eaten here several times and it can be very crowded, particularly on a weekend or later in the evening.
Our server appeared immediately to take our order. I ordered the Umami Burger ($11). It is one of several burgers built from the ground up. Umami takes pride in concocting each burger with toppings and custom sauces to make each one a unique experience.
The 1/3-pound burger is house-ground from some “proprietary blend of high end cuts” as our server told us after inquiring with the manager.
It is griddle fried rather than flame broiled, which I always prefer. The Umami Burger itself includes Shiitake mushroom, caramelized onions, slow roasted tomato slice, parmesan crisp and Umami ketchup. (Don’t miss the Umami Ketchup on your thin fries either. The ketchup is more tomatoey and spicier than your normal Heinz 57.)
The burger arrived sitting atop a white bun, perfectly dome-shaped and stamped with a “U”. The bun is finely toasted to perfection.
The burger itself is a work of art. I have never seen one so finely assembled and presented. Biting into the burger, which is prepared a perfect medium rare, you get each taste hitting your tongue separately and then blending in unison. I noticed the mushroom first, then the beef, cheese and ketchup. It is really a delight.
The Thin Fries ($3.50) are little matchsticks that really live up to their name. Crisp, salty and tasty, you need to eat them fast, because they don’t hold the heat for long.
The Onion rings are surprisingly uniform in appearance. Their light batter covers and somewhat overwhelms the soft onion inside. I dunked them in the jalapeño ranch sauce and they added a nice little kick.
My wife Pat had a burger with only cheddar cheese. Called the kids burger, it is the same size and bun as my burger. It is really the margarita pizza of burgers. In its unadorned state, it achieves a certain burger perfection that only works when the beef is flavorful, sparingly spiced and fresh.
Skip the pecan, bacon pie. Microwaved to a tongue burning temperature, it disappointed after the quality of the rest. Crust should never be subjected to a microwave, so it was hard to tell how good it was. The bacon was more of a gimmick than an addition. Instead, have another beer or glass of wine from the nice selection.
According to Cookthink, the tastes of sweet, salty, bitter and sour are familiar, but there is a fifth taste we can perceive with our tongue. Called umami, its taste has been described as rounded, rich and savory. I think this aptly describes the Umami Burger.
Burger 5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4 spatulas
Onion Rings 4 spatulas
2184 Union Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
|This Samurai Sword sits in the entrance.|
Kronnerburger is a pop-up burger place in the old Bruno’s bar on Mission Street in San Francisco. There is actually no sign on the door, but they do have a temporary sign at the door when Kronnerburger is open from 6-late. We arrived right after they opened and had the place all to ourselves. The old bar is very dark and cozy. Edgy rock music, tastefully curated, played loudly. We were greeted cheerfully and shown to our table.
We ordered up and almost immediately received the best poutine I have ever had. Maybe ordering poutine is cheating on fries, but I have fallen in love with it recently. The version here called “Fries with Beefcheek gravy and cheese curd” was $10. You can add bone marrow for $4 more. I could not stop eating the crispy fries with the luscious gravy and soft melted curds. Amazing.
|The poutine tastes a lot better than this photo would indicate.|
We also got onion rings ($6) that audibly crunched when you bit them. Battered lightly and sliced thin, they held up well to the spicy chili aioli that accompanied them. I think this is the best fries/onion rings combo I have ever had.
The burger came. Billed as rare and salty, it did not disappoint on either count. The challah bun was heavily toasted and fit perfectly to a somewhat modestly sized burger. I would guess 6 ounces or so. The white cheddar mayo sauce was sloppy and tasty, holding its own to the salty beef patty. The red onions were sweet and nicely grilled. Crispy pickle slices and crisp lettuce rounded out a very nice burger.
|Audibly crunchy onion rings.|
Just to finish with aplomb, we ordered the ice cream burger ($6), chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two very thin chocolate chip cookies. I liked this better than others of this ilk. Usually the cookies are too thick and overwhelm the ice cream. This has just the right balance between cookie and ice cream.
|Ice Cream burger finishes off a great repast.|
The place is very dark, so my photos here don’t do the food justice. You will have to go and experience for yourself!
2379 Mission Street (Inside Bruno’s)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 5 spatulas
Onion Rings 5 spatulas
|Jesus provides the only light at the table.|
|A full house enjoys their burgers and brew.|
|The Cheese Burger at Rosamunde Sausage Grill, Lower Haight, San Francisco, CA.|
|The Grill at Rosamunde.|
|Brian Berger after finishing off his burger, Rosamunde Sausage Grill, San Francisco, CA.|
|Jeff Berger with his namesake.|
|Rosamunde and its neighborly bar, Tornado, where you can eat your burger.|
Just For You Cafe in the Dogpatch Neighborhood of San Francisco, sits about two blocks from where I now live. Their food is all fresh and local and is served with the Louisiana influence of owner Arienne Landry. I love their fish tacos and their tuna melt, but I had never reviewed their burger. Until today.
Saturday is generally a busy day at Just For You. They are a very popular place for breakfast and they have a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. I went late and avoided the wait. Stephanie was in charge today and she always takes great care of me and the rest of the hoards. As always the entire staff was friendly and prompt.
|Owner Arienne Landry behind the counter at J4U.|
I ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger ($10.50). Even though they don’t have gruyere on the menu, they always have it, so that is what I asked for. I also added fries ($2.50). The burger comes piled high with tons of fresh vegetables. Green leaf lettuce, tomato slices and pickle slices are piled on the nicely toasted Acme white bun. Mayo was liberally applied. The seven-ounce patty is made from fresh ground natural beef. Even though they swore they don’t add any salt and pepper to the beef, it has a nice flavor as if they did. The burger was cooked a nice medium as ordered. If I had to find a fault, it was not quite as juicy as I sometime like. The bacon was salty and thick on top of the gruyere which was nicely melted. The bun is spongy but tough enough not to fall apart under the stress of all it holds.
The fries are amazing. Fresh cut, they sport skins and medium thickness. They aren’t soggy like some fresh-cuts (Hello In-N-Out). Stephanie told me they fry them twice. The first time gets them part way there. Then they are drained and fried again right before serving to put that crisp finish.
The great thing about having a burger here is all the other things your lunch partner can have if they don’t like burgers. Finish off your meal with the great beignets.
Burger 4.5 Spatulas out of 5
Fries 5 spatulas
Just For You Cafe
732 22nd Street (In Dogpatch)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Short Order in Los Angeles sits in the area at Third and Fairfax Original Farmer’s Market, which is really a bunch of permanent food installations. The burger stand sits out in the open air. We were there on a lovely February Saturday and enjoyed the warm winter L.A. air. I ordered the Short Order Burger ($12) with Grass Fed Beef from Magruder Ranch. It comes with morbier cheese, griddled mushrooms, bibb lettuce and mustardy-mayo. I added bacon as well. We ordered the Short Order Spuds with sour cream dipping sauce with North Country Bacon ($6) rather than fries.
We chatted up our charming server, finding out about the neighborhood and admiring her tattoos. She was as relaxed and charming as the setting. Everyone was friendly and chatty and we felt at peace with the world. I had a beer as Pat and I chatted up our nearby patrons.
The burgers arrived along with the spuds. Wrapped neatly in yellow paper, they were a work of beefy art. The first bite did not disappoint. All the flavors blended so nicely wit the slightly spicy sauce. The beef had only the slightest pepper in it that really brought out the great taste of the juicy beef. The bun was firm and toasted perfectly. I must say, this is one of my favorite burgers in some time.
The spuds reminded me of how much I used to like TGI Friday’s potato skins. These are the gourmet version. Popping wth flavor along with the dipping sauce.
Take a chill pill and visit Short Order, next time you are in L.A.
Burger 5 spatulas out of 5
Spuds 5 spatulas
6333 W. 3rd St. Stall #110
Los Angeles, CA 90036