Tuesday, November 17, 2009
After years of wondering what the fuss was about, I finally made it over to the corner of Mission and Silver in San Francisco's Excelsior District to try a burger at Joe's Cable Car restaurant. This is the place that's often cited as serving up the best burgers in the city. The reason is relatively simple: they grind their own beef steak fresh every day. I brought my nephew, Nick, an ice hockey player who knows burgers. We loved the atmosphere: kitschy, bright and with lots of crazy stuff hanging from the walls and the ceiling. Wonderful neon signs illuminate the big windows. It's hard not to smile when you're seated at one of the comfortable booths and look around at the surroundings. The choices on the menu are straight-forward: you choose patties of 4, 6, or 8 ounces and toppings, including the usual cheese, bacon, mushrooms, grilled onions, etc. We were served in a few minutes. The sesame bun was toasted and the meat was very good, no question about it. The fries, however, were disappointing. They lacked that nice crispness that make fries irresistible. And, although I enjoyed it, my 6-ounce burger, which came to $13.75, was plopped and served unattractively on a small black styrofoam plate. For a premium burger at a rather hefty price I expect a real plate. But if you're looking for a fun, casual evening and a real meat burger, head to Joe's. You may want to bring your own plate, though.