Review: Burger BarHubert Keller has got to be one busy man.
He has six restaurants in the U.S., has a PBS show named “Secrets of a Chef” and took third place on Bravo’s Top Chef’s Masters this past year.
And, if that wasn’t enough, last week the Michelin Guide gave Hubert's Fleur de Lys (in San Francisco’s Financial District) one star meaning "a very good restaurant in its category" - in this case, French cuisine.
To give you some 2010 Michelin stats, within San Francisco (including Napa Valley and Silicon Valley) only 34 restaurants received one star, four received two stars (meaning they are "excellent cooking and worth a detour") and only one restaurant in Napa (The French Laundry) held on to three stars (meaning its "exceptional cuisine and worth the journey").
But, back to Keller…
Last week, he also opened his third Burger Bar located in San Francisco Macy's at Union Square.
As you approach Macy's it's funny to see that the chain-Cheesecake Factory is now going head-to-head with Keller's Burger Bar - I have a feeling that the CF will be moving out soon…
After putting in our name, my party of two had to wait 45 minutes for a table on this busy Saturday night. Yet, the wait was bearable since we were able to shop in Macy's and visit the surrounding stores in Union Square.
As we entered the small restaurant you are greeted by the bar, which had tons of people huddled, drinking and watching sports on the flat screen TV’s.
We were seated in a small corridor that led to the main dining hall.
The Burger Bar is a "bar," but has an elegant feel to it with its tasteful and simple décor – helping you forget that you’re just a few feet away from the Macy's home goods department.
The menu is strictly all burgers! Well, there are a few chicken/salmon burgers and salads, but why would you order that if you were going here?
Simple burgers start at $9.75 and for an additional 75 cents you can get extra toppings. But then…there are the "Chef's Burgers" - which are "gourmet" with interesting toppings and combinations – lobster and asparagus on a burger? Or, how ‘bout Kobe beef with foie gras? Yup, all covered on this menu.
I ordered the Hubert Keller Burger -- buffalo beef, blue cheese, sautéed spinach, caramelized onions on a ciabatta roll served with a side of shoestring french fries. Let me tell you…worth every penny.
The beef was cooked to a pink medium – and was grilled to perfection – tender, juicy and not burnt. The ciabatta roll was fresh since it wasn't crunchy and hard. And, the sautéed spinach with onions complimented nicely with the strong blue cheese crumbles.
For those that don't like blue cheese, you probably won't like this burger since you need to enjoy the strong pungent taste. But I LOVED it.
The best part about this burger – it was perfectly seasoned. It wasn’t a burger that needed to be drenched in ketchup. In fact, it is ready as is.
Warning - don't order this if you don't have gum.
But - what made this experience better was Hubert himself was working at Burger Bar. He was actually plating desserts and made his way into the kitchen numerous times.
He stopped by our table three times - introducing himself, taking a photo with yours truly (see picture) and then gave us mini-milkshake samples -- one was a mint chocolate chip with strawberry swirls; the other was peanut butter chocolate with chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Both were delicious and the presentation was awesome!
Overall, the Burger Bar is a wonderful gourmet “bar” that isn’t to be looked-over. Be adventurous and order something totally out of the ordinary. You won’t regret it.
5 out of 5 bytes for spot on burgers that offered unique combinations, with flavors that blended nicely. And, kudos to Hubert for spending time in the kitchen and plating some desserts and drinks himself!
Name: Burger Bar
Address: 251 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Pricing: Black Angus Beef Burger $9.95; Chef Burgers range from $12-60
Byte Rating: 5 out of 5