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The 2009 Burger Bonanza: At Luna Park, Rubber Meets Road

Welcome to the 2009 Burger Bonanza wherein two girls eat 20 of the city's best burgers, on the path to burger enlightenment. The 10 best will then be chosen to be featured—in ranking order—in 7x7's September magazine issue. Burgers must fit our "fancy burger" parameter: made with beef and available as part of the regular dinner menu at upscale restaurants in SF. Beyond that, we're open to suggestions, which we hope you will leave in the comment box below!

LUNA PARK

Price: $11.95
Beef:
Pre-ground beef from Painted Hills Ranch, 1/3 lb. patties
Bun:
Wedemeyer Bakery standard bun
Fixings:
Romaine lettuce, tomatoes and raw red onion; mayonnaise, ketchup and Dijon available. Cheese for an extra $1, avocado or bacon for $1.50
Cooked: Grilled over gas
Comes with:
Fresh fries

Who remembers that brilliant Poison song, “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”? Well, the Burger Bonanza has thorns too. When you are force-feeding yourself burgers for weeks on end, you’re bound to eat some along the way that just aren’t as delicious as they could be. Alas, such was the case with the “tasty” burger at Luna Park.

First of all, if the burger that I had been served resembled in any way the burger in this photograph (which was supplied by the restaurant) I am sure that I would have had an entirely different experience. Secondly, I think Luna Park has its heart in the right-ish place: natural beef, you know, and though the patty is thin it was well-cooked. Completely undersalted, but well-cooked. So that’s something. The accompanying slices of tomato, juicy and vibrantly red, were also worth getting excited about (you may remember how Bix failed the tomato test).

But other things were all wrong. The burger bun was dry, the fries tasted like they’d been cooked in slightly stale oil, the red onion slices were too thick, the romaine slightly wilted. Every rose, you know, has its thorn(s). If you got this burger at a diner or some other joint, you wouldn’t hate it. It’s a perfectly serviceable, basic burger. But when you are paying $11.95 for the basic burger (cheese is an extra dollar, avocado and bacon are $1.50 more), and when you’re eating said burger but a stone’s throw from other fine Burger Bonanza contenders, the bar is set very high.