The Battle of the Marina Burger Joints
With Roam, Umami, and Super Duper slinging patties within blocks of each other in the Marina-Cow Hollow megahood, the city’s gourmet burger ghetto is officially defined. We took one comparable burger from each and sized them up.
The bun: Pacific Coast Bakery's fluffy, yet toasty, sesame seed bun (it can lose its integrity after a few bites). Optional: whole-grain vegan bun.
The sauce: Made with organic Heinz ketchup, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, house-made relish, and secret spices.
The works: Locally sourced tomato, chopped onion, butter lettuce, aged Wisconsin white cheddar, and house-made pickles.
The patty: Four-and-a-half ounces of 100-percent grass-fed beef from Pacific Pastures.
The buzz: Roam’s self-deemed "pasture-to-plate" burgers were named among Bon Appétit’s top 10 burgers in 2010 well before Umami and Super Duper Burger arrived on the scene. Look for Roam to expand its presence soon.
Umami Burger: The Cali, $10. Opened: October 2011
2184 Union St. (at Fillmore), 415-440-8626, umamiburger.com
The bun: House-made, Portuguese-style bun sweetened with milk and honey.
The sauce: Made-from-scratch Thousand Island with house-made pickles.
The patty: Six ounces of all-natural Niman Ranch wagyu-angus beef coated in something called “umami dust.”
The works: House-processed American cheese and organic veggies including butter lettuce, slow-roasted tomato, and caramelized onions.
The buzz: When the LA chain—bequeathed GQ's "Burger of the Year" in 2010—opened its first and only Nor Cal branch, hour-long waits ensued. The key to their success? Burgers loaded with ingredients— including caramelized onions and Parmesan—rich in the fifth flavor.
Super Duper Burger: The Mini with cheese, $5. Opened: October 2011
2200 Chestnut St. (at Pierce), 415-931-6258, superdupersf.com
The bun: Custom-made by La Boulange and sprinkled with sesame seeds, it’s strong enough to hold up to the juiciness of the meat.
The sauce: A mix of mayo, ketchup, mustard, a bit of brandy, and pickles.
The works: Organic ingredients when possible, including tomato slices, red onion, Little Gem lettuce, California cheddar cheese, and house-made pickles.
The patty: A skinny, four-ounce mix of freshly ground, all-natural beef from Niman Ranch.
The buzz: “Fast-food burgers with slow-food values” is the slogan here, which translates to an old-school ratio of fixings à la In-N-Out. The third location from this SF-based minichain is headed to the Metreon in SF and Mill Valley next.