MARLOWE BURGER IN SOMA....EH, I GUESS IF YOU LIKED THE ORIGINAL
Burgers in San Francisco have their own pantheon of favoritism. There are endless lists of which one is best overall, which is best serve by a burger joint, which is best served by a bar, best food truck one, best one served by a sit down restaurant, etc. The lists can be endless, meaningless, ever changing and non-stop. One burger that always seems to show up on these "lists" is from Marlowe. A burger so famous and popular that when Marlowe recently moved from one space to a larger one, they turned the old spot in a place that (mostly) solely features their burger. It's called, Marlowe Burger, obviously.
The space has been aluminumed up and with wall coverings, bar stools and tall counters. Basically it's been turned into a fast food feeling burger joint. The menu is limited and does feature a fried chicken sandwich (because every menu in town has to have one these days), egg sandwich and a couple of smaller side things you can get with your sandwich. I've had their burger before, but it's been a few years, and since burger is in the name--of course that is what I'm gonna try. They only have one and you can't make any additions to it. Subtractions from it yes, but no adds. I guess in terms of pumping them out on a particularly busy game day (it is next to AT&T after all) this makes sense--and at least you know what you are gonna get before you go. So that's what I got and here it is--the Marlowe burger with a side of fries.
A Niman Ranch chuck burger (cooked medium rare as asked) with cheddar, bacon, shredded romaine lettuce and horesradish aioli on a toasted brioche bun. The menu said there were supposed to be carmelized onions on here but I seemed to have missed out on those. As for what I got--it was decent, tasty and a good burger--not great burger, but good. The bacon was nice and crispy to add some crunch. You get plenty of hearty cheddar. The burger was also cooked as ordered and was definitely juicy. What I was missing was some flavor or seasoning in the meat. There either wasn't any or just not enough. And really, it needed some salt to perk it up a bit. Plus you don't get very much of the aioli on it which can add a nice kick. Might have been nice to see what the spicy aioli would have been like with the sweetness of some grilled onions. I liked the bun and it did hold up while eating the burger. But the bun being toasted without being buttered or anything, came off a little dry. I used the side of aioli I got with my fries to add more spread on the top and bottom of the bun. I would recommend asking for an additional one if I were you so you can still have one to dip the fries in as even the one you get with the fries doesn't have that much in it (they sure seem to be measuring out their margins here).
The fries were nicely done, Thin, crisp and hot with a hearty sprinkle of salt. The sides of ketchup and aioli you get aren't near enough for the generous portion of fries. Something then to note: ask for extra sauces. At $10.50 for just the burger it is on the high side in my opinion. Maybe if, when I bit into it and was like, "wow, this is the best burger ever!" Yeah, no, even then I'd still think this was a couple bucks too much. Though, when you add in the $4 for the fries, total cost comes to $14.50, which seems to be $1.50 less than it would cost if you got it at the restaurant. Who knows, maybe you get more fries or something extra, but I guess at least you come out cheaper at the burger joint.
I did want to give one of their sides a try and am a sucker for deviled eggs and ordered one up. It comes with pickled jalapeno, bacon and salsa verde. I'm guessing the salsa was mixed into the egg part cause I couldn't taste it. Mine also came with what tasted like a drizzle of olive oil (you can see it pooling in the bottom of the cup) which made this slipper to get out and hold. This is also a one bite thing. The egg was round, not oval, and of the super small size. The jalapeno, bacon and chives are neatly stacked on top as you see. The jalapenos weren't really spicy but I could taste the pickle in them. The bacon also added a nice crunch and small smokiness to the flavor. At $2 it's a pleasant enough bite, though I will say none of the flavor really lingers on the tongue. My taste memory seemed to move on soon after swallowing. I'll chalk this up to interesting very small bite. Maybe I just needed more than one to make any lasting impression.
All in all, I'll say if you are a fan of Marlowe's burger, this iteration of it isn't going to be any different and you are probably gonna like it just the same. For me, it was just okay and a little on the pricey side--something I sometimes like to call "ball park pricing." When you live in SOMA near the park you sort of get used to places catering to folks who go to games more so than those of us who live in the area all year round. Doesn't mean we like it, we are just used to it. (kind of how HRD re-vamped their place and upped their prices and just aren't the same anymore) It also means I probably won't be hitting up Marlowe Burger again anytime soon, especially not on game days when I'm sure they get a crowd of folks who are so used to paying $10 for a beer that an ok $11 burger ain't that big a deal.
One thing to note, if you are interested in trying them out, this is kind of like a one year pop-up. The building they are in is due for demolition next year sometime and this particular location at least, will be no more. So try them at this space now. Though if this one does well enough, there may be others.