I finally had the opportunity to scoop something. Across the food-wire today, I learned about a new venture from the Mission Street Food guys, called Mission Burger. The story goes.....next door to the Mission Street Food space (which if you haven't heard, is kinda cool - click on the [LINK] to learn more about their guest chef series on Thursdays and Saturdays) is a big-honking Asian supermarket called Duc Loi. Duc Loi happens to have this banging kitchen in the corner of the market. And it never gets used.
The dudes from MSF are fans of this cultish style of burger preparation, cited as follows:
*granulation is our term for the process popularized by Heston Blumenthal, a michelin 3-star chef based in London. Blumenthal combines strands of ground meat to create a loosely grained "meat column" (not Blumenthal's phrase), then slices the column into patties. The result is, well, a delicacy.
So, they work out a deal with the market, even get them to thrown in $1 to charity for every burger sold, and this Sunday they opened up Mission Burger. Simple concept. One burger, one veggie burger, fries. I got mine on Monday. Here's more on their menu:
Beef Burger: 1/3 lb of aged harris ranch brisket, short rib and chuck, granulated* and seared in beef fat. Served with monterey jack, caramelized onion and caper aioli on a griddled acme bun - $8
Vegan Burger: maitake, shitake, roasted kale, edamame, scallion, sesame seed and fava-chickpea patty. Served with avocado and miso "mayo"** on a griddled acme bun - $7
Fries - $2
So, here's the skinny. Mind you, I have a strong opinion on burgers. I've written about them [LINK]. I've eaten my weight in them many times over. I have a fascination with the form the same way I do for pizza, meatballs, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti and other pure food forms (all links to blog posts).
This burger threw me a little. I love the concept, but was skeptical since I rarely find anything more satisfying than simple chuck, ground fresh. Period. But, they are definitely on to something here. The labor pays off in flavor and texture. It's a really tasty burger and where you might expect a little gristle, fat globule or char, there is nothing but a consistent course texture. It's close to my ultra-fresh ground, but a little more dense. Where it really hits you is with the flavor. Under each slightly greasy, aoli rich, oniony bite, is some pretty fucking tasty animal flesh. The brisket, short ribs thing works. Wow.
The fries were too salty, but a solid compliment to the nummy nummy goodness of the meat. I could see a different set of accompaniments working well with this burger. Perhaps toned down a little and focused back on the beef, which really needs to be revered. I kept feeling like I was distracted by onion and aoli.
Is this a contender for best burger in town? I think they have a shot if they can remain consistent and pull the reigns on the access0ries. I rarely shower such praise on a newcomer in a realm that is so contentious, but there's something about Mission Burger that is right in so many ways. Go for yourself and let me know what you think.