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Wednesday Burger at Biergarten [Hayes Valley, San Francisco]

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Last week Mom and I checked out the burger deal at Biergarten on Linden Alley. While the day had been warm and sunny, by 6pm, the fog had rolled in with a damp and blustery vengeance. Swathed in a full length coat, sitting on a heated lava buns cushion I’d brought along, and with her head wrapped in my pashmina, Mom said she wasn’t cold but not hot either. I grabbed one of the heavy blankets for myself . . . and I’d advise anyone to do so right away as they get snapped up quickly.

At that hour the tables were nearly half-full and I had about five people ahead of me in the line to order. After glancing at the drinks menu, I asked at the counter if there were any hot beverages as I couldn’t imagine ingesting anything chilled. Sadly, no, and I was wishing I’d grabbed the hot cider promoted up the street at Smitten. The best option was a glass of zweigelt (light red wine), $6, served in a tumbler at cool room temperature.

Besides the burger, we also tried the original beet salad, $6. Multi-colored, firm roasted slices of beet in a brightly tart marinade were flecked with bits of minced shallot, whole leaf Italian parsley, and crunchy finishing salt.

The specific embellishments for the half-pound Prather Ranch burger, $12, change each week. The patty’s quite thick to fit the confines of the rather narrow diameter Firebrand toasted bun, making this burger taller than it is wide. The meat definitely dominates the bread. Held in place with a skewer, the vertical span presents a pretty big mouthful to try to bite. Cooked medium-rare as ordered, the beef was very flavorful, sported a nice crusting, but lacked juiciness. This week’s garniture – caramelized onion, dried tomato, wild arugula, green garlic aioli, melted fontina cheese, crispy pancetta -- all top notch. The pickled spear of asparagus gracing the side warrants a special mention. A delicious burger, but I felt I had to gobble my half-share too quickly before it cooled down exposed to the elements.

424 Octavia Blvd.
(between Linden & Fell in Hayes Valley)
San Francisco, CA
Summer hours: Wed-Sat 3-9pm, Sun 1-7pm

Opening reports,

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  1. Asparagus??? That's what I call jumping the shark . . . or going round the bend. :)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jeff

      Most definitely!

      I suspect the pickled asparagus was a seasonal stand-in for a dill pickle slice. Lucky me.

      1. re: Jeff

        Pickled asparagus is delicious.

      2. Charcoal-grilled?

        Medium-rare but not juicy seems wrong.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          It's pretty lean. The more cooked parts were crumbly. Also, it cools off fast in the wind and chill outdoors.