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!
Beef: Prather Ranch grass-fed, ground inhouse
Bun: Panorama bakery
Fixings: Butter lettuce, Roma tomato and caramelized onions with ketchup, mayonnaise and housemade aïoli on the side. Your choice of cheddar, Gruyère and Gorgonzola included in price.
Comes with: Fresh fries
After having sampled my fair share of burgers in this town over the last many weeks, I can now say: Sometimes a burger is just a burger. Revelatory, right? I know. But hear me out—there are burgers that define the genre, burgers that give burgers a bad name, burgers that are more than the sum of their parts, burgers that are less. Midi's burger is just a burger. They use butter lettuce, which gets a little soggy. They top it with deeply caramelized onions, which are OK if you like that sort of thing. Perhaps the best thing about the Midi burger is that cheese and fries are included, without any other surcharge. I found myself getting increasingly irritated by burgers that came solo, with add-ons costing dollars more. This will not happen to you at Midi. It shouldn't happen to you anywhere.
Kudos should be given for Midi's use of grass-fed beef from Prather Ranch, but demerits will be taken for the overcooked patty. Grass-fed beef is a harsh mistress: treat it wrong and it will turn against you—there's no corn-fed fattiness to prevent the patty from drying out. At Midi, you can get the burger anytime of day. For lunch, at the bar, or on the dinner menu. Judging by a quick survey of the tables around me, the burger is the thing. It got me thinking—no wonder every restaurant in town (according to MenuPages, some 600+ in total) have a burger on the menu. Come hell or high water, come bad economy or picky eater, the burger prevails. Because sometimes a burger is just a burger, and sometimes a burger is just what you want.