Ravenous Burger (Healdsburg)
- Melanie Wong
I couldn't let another summer pass without having a Ravenous Burger. Well, I missed the season by a couple days but managed to squeeze one in for lunch today. The patio was full so I took a seat inside near the front window where I could view the cottage garden and rose bushes in bloom.
The extra juicy burger ($11) was perfect and rare as ordered. Ignore the tough and somewhat dried out thick cut oven fries. The garnishes were great, a couple thick slices of heirloom tomato, baby greens, onion confit, dijon mustard, and a snappy kosher dill pickle spear on the side. A few cloves of roasted garlic were offered for extra pizzaz. What made this extra special was the lightly grilled bun from Downtown Bakery. Almost brioche-like in its airy texture, this hamburger bun had the resiliance to wrap around this juicy and thick combo and sop up the juices without falling apart. Loved it.
Three of the four were dried out . . . I took a sample bit to core sample them. One was good with nice waxy texture, but was not crispy on the outside. A little smear of roasted garlic paste on it added a nice lift.
I thought the burger was better than Zuni's. Better bread and more flavor overall with the various garnishes. But not the fries.
I forgot to mention that the service is still rather inept here. Too bad, as I do love the space in an old house with sunny tangerine walls.
re: Melanie Wong
that burger does look good
especially the bread- I'm not so fond of the zuni foc. bun but I haven't eaten one in a long time- the pickles were the best part of that burger memory
nice to see a good locally made burger bun properly grilled
the onion confit sounds good- similar to one of my favorite burgers in santa monica at father's office where the fries are just ok as well but the belgian beer choices on tap are hard to match
is there a place here in sf that serves maredsous on tap? I haven't really searched too hard myself but now I will
The Ravenous Burger is probably the most famous hamburger in town, and deservedly so. What it shares with Zuni's is that the beef is relatively light-tasting.
For a heartier-style burger, and some say better, check out the lunch time only burger at Zin. The fries are great too, especially with the housemade catsup.
And, one that's about as unknown as can be, Western Boot Steak House makes a really good burger too. Those guys know how to grill.
I noticed that the spot where A&W used to be and that was most recently a sushi place has a sign up "Healds-Burger coming soon". Looks like another burger is coming to town.
It's the kind of thing you have to eat in one sitting. Once you get all the fixings distributed properly and figure out how to hold it without stuff falling out, you can't put it down or you'll never be able to pick it up in one unit again. There was a big pool of juices on my plate afterwards, luckily it all hit there. They really should give you more than one napkin with a burger like this. (G)
Ravenous Cafe and Lounge
420 Center St
When the word that Ravenous Cafe had been sold and would be closing, I couldn't let them slip away without one more Ravenous burger. I slid in on the early side to get the last unreserved table a month before the end.
Best table in the house along the side wall facing the bar action, set with fresh flowers, where I could see the whole place. I'll miss the handwritten script menu. The new owners (Starks of Willi's et all) said they plan to keep the tangerine orange color scheme but will give the whole place and especially the kitchen a much needed revamping.
The burger, with cheese, and especially the light and tender homemade bun was as good as ever.
The cafe closed March 31. The owners are downsizing and plan to reopen at Ravenette this month.
"Ravenous Cafe Prepares for Bittersweet Return"