I headed off to Barney’s expecting a greasy spoon type place. Instead I found a hip and happening spot with marble floors, wood tables, leather seats and outdoor dining. Just up from Berkeley, the place has a college town feel. I wish I had brought my Birkenstocks.
Joined by my burger buddy Mark, we perused the expansive menu before settling on a Blackened Burger with Swiss cheese ($7.80) for me and Baja Burger with avocado ad bacon ($7.95) for Mark. I had heard the curly fries ($4.50) were awesome, so we ordered those, along with onion rings ($4.75) and a mocha shake ($4.25).
Our server was polite, well informed and speedy. She told us all the burgers are made with 1/3 pound of fresh ground chuck, except for the Big Barney’s Burger, which is a full pound. She quickly brought a spectacular plate of onion rings to our table. An onion had been halved and split into huge rings. These were battered and topped with parmesan cheese. They were crunchy and luscious. 4.5 spatulas out of 5. One order was more than two of us could eat. The curly fries weren’t as impressive as the o-rings, but held their one in crispness. (3.5 spatulas) Both were even better when dunked in the peppery ranch dressing that accompanied them.
As we were tackling the deep-fried delicacies, the burgers arrived. They were almost two beautiful to eat. (The kind fast food places photograph for ads before replacing with a microwave slab of gruel.)
My blackened burger was cooked to perfection - pink and juicy in the middle with a nice peppery crust on the outside. It was served with a tangy thousand island type dressing, which softened the late-hitting, zing of the pepper. It also came with lettuce and tomato and a soft sesame bun. I have to give this a 5 spatulas. I really enjoyed it. Mark was equally enthusiastic about his Baja Burger.
The Mocha shake was a very nice accompaniment to all the spice as well. A nice coffee taste gave it a little twist from the classic chocolate. 4 spatulas.
It won’t be long before I return to Barney’s. Maybe with a tie-die bib.
Burger 5 spatulas (out of 5)
Fries 3.5 spatulas
Onion Rings 4.5 spatulas
Shake 4 spatulas
Barney’s Gourmet Burgers
5819 College Ave.
Additional Locations is Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael.