Burgers that Are More Nice Than Super
2304 Market St. (at 16th), San Francisco
No reservations, major credit cards accepted
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
OK, when you call yourself Super Duper, those are some big words to live up to. And there was a lot of promise when I checked out this new casual hamburger spot in the Castro.
There’s no shortage of greasy sliders and burgers in the Castro, where a beefy burger sounds good after visiting one of the many bars in the hood. But Super Duper falls on the trendy side of burgers (think Shake Shack in New York) coming from the people behind Starbelly (just a block down from Super Duper), Beretta and Delarosa.
The interior follows the fun, contemporary décor that’s become a signature of the restaurants from Adriano Paganini. Several of the graphic designs on the walls probably would make cool T-shirts for the men in the area.
The menu, as expected, is simple and scaled down, starting with the burgers (hamburger, cheeseburger and the “superburger”) that you can get as a single or double burger. There’s a chicken breast sandwich as an alternative and a veggie sandwich for the non-meat eaters.
The sides only include French fries (plain or garlic cheese). Desserts offered include soft serve cones, a chocolate dipped cone and a sundae.
When I visited recently with my friend Joe, we both got the single superburger ($4.75), which is only different from the cheeseburger because you get lettuce, tomatoes and red onions with your burger along with the cheese. (The cheeseburger must be so lonely.)
The patty was fresh-tasting with a nice salty singe to it from the grill. It really gave the burger a lot of flavor. Super Duper is like other places now where they don’t ask how you want your burger and serve them all at the same temperature. Super Duper makes their burgers medium and on this day they weren’t as dripping with oil that I experienced at other burger places. It wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t messy wet either.
To me, though, what really makes a burger great — or “super” —is the special sauce or condiments. And I just didn’t feel the special sauce in the superburger really stood out or made much of a difference. Still, it was an enjoyable burger that I wouldn’t mind getting again.
I also got a strawberry milk shake ($3.50, other flavors are vanilla and chocolate), which was amazingly fresh. I could see the strawberry puree in the shake, and it wasn’t super thick like how other places make them, which means you can start enjoying it right away. (The fresh strawberries did plug up my straw occasionally, but I’m fine with dealing with a few clogged straws to get the fresh strawberries). I wonder, though, if they plan to change the flavor when strawberries go out of season?
It’s a good thing Joe came along because he could help me test the French fries ($2.25) since I’ve droned on and on about how I don’t eat deep-fried foods. Super Duper’s fries were cut very thin, but I wouldn’t call them shoestring fries because they lacked the snap I associate with shoestring fries. Joe said they were all right, although a bit salty.
TIP: When you go to the condiment station, that’s where you’ll find some home-made pickles. (They don’t serve it with your burgers automatically.) The pickles lacked any crunch and probably needed more vinegar because it was quite mild.
Since the menu is limiting and I only really tried the burger, I’m not using my usual rating system for this review. But I will say that Super Duper is a fine addition to this neighborhood, which is finally seeing more high-end food eateries. Even though this is a casual joint, it offers the sophistication that makes the food feel special although not incredibly tasty enough to be called super.
More burger reviews:
Trueburger: “Upscale Burgers Arrive in the East Bay”
Good Stuff Eatery: “Healthy Cows Make Spike Burgers”
Burger Joint: “Burger Bite for the Pre-Baseball Set”
Amanda’s Feel Good Fresh Foods: “Slow Food Principles in this Fast Food Joint”
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Burgers that Are More Nice Than Super