Best Burger - 2011
Lark Creek Steak
While it's relatively easy to put out a good-tasting burger if you've buried the thing under aioli, bacon, and onion jam, it's hard to do minimal well. To be perfect, each object in a very limited field of elements has to be exactly right. Lark Creek Steak's steakburger comes close, thanks to scraps from the in-house butchery program. The kitchen takes all the bits from its Marin Sun Farms ribeyes and New York steaks, Wagyu filets, and other prime-meat trim and sends them through the grinder. Blackened — even at medium-rare — over a mix of mesquite charcoal and almond wood on Lark Creek Steak's spitjack grill, this is a burger that stands up to the elemental. Within its exoskeleton of char, the meat is soft, infused with the campfire sweetness of wood smoke. It's sheathed in a sesame brioche bun from Panorama that convinces you it tastes buttery from seeds alone, a bun that collapses just enough. And sure, the steakburger comes with a stack of tomato, grilled onions, and slices of very tasty house-cured pickles, but you don't need them to plaster over deficiencies.