Zuni Café is a San Francisco institution. Zuni has a great reputation as a restaurant and quite a following. Many rate the burger the best. So my burger buddy Mark and I decided to try it out. The yellow awnings call out as you drive along Market Street. If you don’t want to pony up the $10 for valet parking, you might work up a good appetite walking 5 blocks from a parking spot as I did.
As I waited for Mark to appear, I read through the Zuni cookbook at the bar. They grind their own chuck. A good sign. A look at the menu revealed the burger to be priced at $13.50. We added mountain gorgonzola ($1.75) and grilled onions ($1) - a staggering sum of $16.25 for the burger. We also ordered shoestring potatoes for $6. I was running short of cash already, so Mark and I agreed to split the fries.
The burger is a thing of beauty. Elegantly presented with pickled zucchini shavings and a candied onion on the side. The square bun is ciabatta style. There is a light garlic aioli on the bottom bun. The cheese and a grilled red onion slice sat artfully on top with the bun top slightly askew. The burger was cooked a perfect, juicy medium. All the elements played well together. The bun was a little stiff for my taste, but that is a quibble. Mark and I rated it a 4.5 spatulas out of 5.
The shoestring potatoes were thin and crisp. They are actually smaller and thinner than a shoestring. Very good, they are even yummy when they have cooled off. I dipped them in the homemade ketchup. We rated them a 4.5 as well.
The check came to just under $50. We added a $10 tip for the great service. $60 for two burgers, an order of fries, an ice tea and an Arnold Palmer. That’s a lot of coin for a burger. My Indiana dad would not believe it - unless maybe he tasted it.
Burger 4.5 spatulas out of 5
Fries 4.5 spatulas
1658 Market Street
San Francisco, CA