2009 Burger Bonanza: Is Epic's Burger Truly Epic?


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!

Epic Roasthouse

Price: $25
From Meyer Ranch in Helmville, Montana and Schmidt Ranch in San Leandro, California—usually an equal-parts mixture of brisket, short rib and sirloin. Ground in-house, formed into 3/4 pound patties.
Bun: Grilled Panorama “buttery roll” made according to Epic’s specs
Fixings: Housemade, all: bread-and-butter pickles, marinated red onions, lettuce, tomato, marinated mushrooms, corn chow-chow relish and bacon
Condiments: Aïoli, Housemade anchovy ketchup, Dijon
Comes with: Steak Fries
Cooked: Grilled over an open flame

Well, we decided to start big. The first thing that needs to be said about Epic’s burger is that it’s epically massive—three-quarters of a pound of ground beef settled onto a plush brioche-style bun. Nobody, not even the FiDi movers-and-shakers that colonize this place come quitting time, should ever be faced with eating a burger of this size alone. In fact, the waitress told me hardly anyone finishes it, which begs the question: why make a giant burger with a giant price tag that no one can even finish? But I digress.

Generously seasoned and accompanied by “all the accoutrements” (which in this case means served on the side, in small ramekins, with not quite enough of anything to cover the massive patty) this is one hell of a burger. So many restaurants make a fine burger and then serve high-fructose corn syrup-enhanced ketchup along with it, but not Epic. The housemade anchovy-tomato ketchup is some of the finest I’ve ever had. This burger would be among the city’s finest were it not for the fact that my patty, requested medium, was cooked beyond recognition. I mean, cooked. Cooked hard. But even though there was nary a hint of pink within, it was still was pretty tasty. I can only imagine how perfect it could have been. Still, at $25 for a burger (even one that you can—and should—split two ways) imagining perfection may not be enough. Next up, on Friday: Nopa.

What other restaurant should we include on our burger quest? Please guide us to the next spot—leave a comment letting us know where you go to reach char-broiled nirvana.

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