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First Bite: KronnerBurger

If you thought the SF food scene had reached its fill of specialty burger joints, boy, were you wrong. Bar Tartine chef Chris Kronner proves that this trend is not only still growing, but that he’s ready to play dirty in order to kick up the competition. His new pop-up, KronnerBurger, has been met with the kind of hype that has hungry carnivores lining up at the door. Naturally, I had to join the ravenous mob to see what distinguished these burgers from the rest. I headed to Kronner's pop-up stationed in its very own swanky room next to Bruno’s in the Mission.  

Kronner gained a cult-like following after debuting his unique burger at Bar Tartine. Fans drooled over his rare, salty, decadent burger with an addition of optional bone marrow. Finally, he’s got his own temporary spot where his burger is king. The KronnerBurger is served on a buttery brioche with lettuce, onions, pickles, and a cheddar aioli. Salty and bloody (just how I like my burgers), the flavors melded together so well that it was hard to distinguish their individual origins. Just know that the cumulative result was perfection.  

The crab burger was an unexpected surprise. A fried crab cake topped with a delicious, citrusy slaw and a juicy aioli was on par with some of the best seafood restaurants I’ve experienced. Again, it was on a buttery, toasted bun (more like sliced bread than brioche), which was delicate enough to showcase the burger's ingredients.  

If you’re really adventurous (like my artery-clogged roommate), the sweetbread burger is a truly decadent treat. I can’t even begin to explain the rampage that Kronner must have gone on while concocting this massive thing. Sweetbreads (the throat, pancreas, and various other glands of an animal) were fried and, I’m guessing, poached to create a towering monument of innards. Creamy, crunchy, and undoubtedly rich, I watched my roommate devour it with utter shock and amazement (admiration and repulsion were also mixed somewhere into my reaction).  

Other treats include bone marrow and toast, onion rings, two salads (for comic and intestinal relief on the menu), an ice cream burger, and fries with an optional Poutine of beef cheek gravy, cheese curds, and marrow.  Are we hungry yet?

With this unapologetic menu consisting of messy, theoretically disgusting food, you might think twice before scheduling your OK Cupid date here. But have no fear–unless they are the Herbivore type–because the ambience in KronnerBurger is downright sexy, and the lighting will hide any Poutine dripping down the side of your face. Exposed brick lines the small room holding a handful of intimate tables dotted with candles. We made sure to stake out a seat at the bar around 6:30 pm, but by 8 pm, the place was packed with diners.  

On the drink front, Gabriel Lowe of Locanda has a rotating list of unique cocktails. We shared a few house-brined dill picklebacks with the bartender before moving on to some specially crafted cocktails. Trust me, it’s a perfect start to the meal: Salty and refreshing. The rest of the cocktails turned a corner and took a much sweeter approach. The Carbonated Mother Fucking Margarita is a light and sparkling twist on the classic drink, but could have used a little salt for balance. Obviously, the Scotchlate Milk was ordered and thoroughly enjoyed. I never thought that the act of drinking a cocktail could make me feel like a kid again. If you’re a fan of a sweet drink with a salty meal, then you’ll be satisfied with KronnerBurger’s petite drink list.  

All in all, the experience at KronnerBurger lived up to its hype. Talk of permanent space has suggested that not one, but two locations will be opening up: One on Polk, and one in the Mission. Check their Facebook for updated menus and head in Sunday through Thursday from 6 pm to “late” for a taste of Kronner.

2379 Mission Street, 415-656-9871