Proclamations of any kind need to have some kind of believability in them for to stand up to even the tiniest bit of scrutiny. Usually though, when places say they are the best they always seem to come with qualifiers like in this town or on this block or when there's a full moon, whatever. Problem is there is no legalese fine print under these statements and we are just supposed to accept them as truth and in the case of food give something a try. Thing is though, with food, it's very hard to be "the best" when peoples tastes in food vary so wildly from thing to thing. And in a town like San Francisco that's so all about food, if you claim to be the best, then you better damn well be sure or folks are gonna' tell ya' you are not.

It's one of the things that brought me to the Ferry Plaza on this bright Saturday mid-morning to hit up 4505 Meats and give their "Best Damn Cheeseburger" a try.

I'd seen various lists of best burgers in town and 4505's had come out on or near the top in a number of them. I had put off trying it mainly because one of the main things that irked me was it's $9 (plus tax!) for just the burger. I'm sorry, that's just a lot for something that fits in your hand no matter how "organic" and "sustainable" your ingredients are. Be that as it may, I decided to suck it up and plop down the money to see what all the fuss was about--the things one has to do if they are going to review food in this town--sigh. Anyway, here it is.....

100% grass-fed beef with aged gruyere cheese, crispy lettuce, purple onion, their own "special sauce" on a toasted, buttered brioche bun. Yes, it's about as big as the picture looks and I'll say it was a thin 6 ounce patty. I'll say off the top this was a kind of decent burger, but best damn cheeseburger? Eh, not so fast. They pump these out pretty fast and sometimes that can lead to a less than ideally cooked and warm patty, which was the case this time. The meat was undercooked, siding more to rare than medium rare. Sometimes when this happens it isn't hot and juicy and and the texture can be sticky, gummy which was the case here. The quick char was on the outside, but the inside of the burger was still mostly undone. It basically threw off the balance for me. I also couldn't really taste the gruyere, a cheese I like a lot. Here it was overwhelmed by the "special sauce" which is pretty much what you think it is, the same tangy flavor thing you get on Big Mac. Not a bad thing per se, but not exactly a new thing. Mine also ended up with only 2 bits of onion and the lettuce was the close the white color pieces you get as you get closer to the core, when it would have been nice to have crisper greener pieces. I did like the buttered and toasted bun, but then, as I've seen before, I'm kind of a sucker for that. Crisp on the outside, warm and fluffy on the inside, yum. Still not enough to make this the "best damn" anything for me. 

I'm sure there are many folks out there who'll disagree with me but overall when you combine price and taste I can think of several other places in town with better burgers. (Pearls, Super Duper, Roam--to name a few) San Francisco is a burger town and it can be found on menus from high end to low end restaurants all over the city. And like a lot of things--everyone has their favorites. From the meat to the toppings to the buns you can argue endlessly about who puts it all together the best. But if you are truly going to call yours the best (particularly on the menu itself) you really need to live up that in one way or another. This time around 4505 Meats just didn't hit that mark for me. On the upside, I'll just have to keep on trying more burgers to find "the best".

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