Chefs’ Picks: San Francisco Burgers
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.
We’re making our way across the country, finding chefs’ favorite burgers in a variety of cities. We’ve talked to chefs about their picks in New York City, Chicago and Miami. Now we’re heading west to San Francisco.
Chef Wes Rowe runs a successful burger pop-up called WesBurger, with WesBurger n’ More opening in March, so he knows a thing or two about burgers. His pick to sate his own craving is the burger at The Tradesman, which is made with cheddar and peanut butter, and served on a sesame brioche bun. According to Rowe, “The description sounds so weird, but as soon as you bite into it, it’s absolutely perfect – salty, sweet, juicy. This is definitely my favorite burger in the city right now – I love that they go totally outside of the box.”
While working on the opening of the second Craftsman and Wolves location on Russian Hill, Chef William Werner was introduced to the burger just up the block at Belcampo. A bargain at just $5, the drive-thru-style burger has a patty of grass-fed beef topped with American cheese, house sauce, lettuce and onion, and Werner contends that it’s as good as much more expensive burgers around town.
Chef Ben Balesteri at Poggio Trattoria is a fan of the Marlowe Burger, served at Marlowe, and also at Park Tavern and The Cavalier. According to Balesteri, “You can't go wrong with this burger! It has the perfect combination of fixings, from the bacon and cheddar to the caramelized onions, which are always amazing on a burger; it's a great balance of bold, savory flavors. I also love horseradish aioli, so that sold me from the beginning! The brioche bun is soft and buttery, which just adds to the overall flavor profile of the burger itself. A+.”
When Lazy Bear chef and owner David Barzelay wants a burger, he heads just a few blocks away from his restaurant. Says Barzelay, “Our crew tends to get out pretty late, but if it's a good night and we hustle, we can sometimes make last call for the kitchen at ABV on 16th Street. Their Pimento Cheese Burger is the perfect size for a late-night snack after a long shift. It's extremely juicy and buttery, with a very full flavor and just the right condiments. The only thing wrong with it is that they don't serve french fries!"
Chef Daniel Corey at Luce goes with what he calls a “San Francisco standard,” the burger at Red’s Java House. It comes simply dressed with mustard, mayo, pickles and onions, and is served on a sourdough roll. “Make it a double and add a side of chili cheese fries,” Corey recommends. “You end up with something amazing!”