gott's roadside....this is for the tourist in you
The Ferry Building, that bastion of food and stuff on the Embarcadero, drawing tourists and locals alike. Particularly for their Saturday farmer's market, which, as someone who lives nearby, is kind of interesting and I would recommend it if you haven't been. I actually used to work there for one of those places (which shall not be named) that sold a food product. It was always a bit of a challenge as eating there is not cheap. There are some good spots, but let's face it, prices are not exactly worker friendly.
Still, the SO and I found ourselves there on a recent Saturday around the time the market was closing and I was feeling a little peckish and craving some unhealthy American fare. And nothing screams that more than a hamburger and fries! Which makes the choice easy, Gott's Roadside, the giant burger spot right in front of the building. Now this place has been here for some time and changed owners once or twice. They started as a small roadside stand up in wine country and have expanded to four locations around the Bay Area.
Their menu is pretty standard burgers, sandwiches, some salads and a handful of other deep fried things to try. By now I'm really hungry so we are going to try several things because we are here and why not.
Nothing like kicking things off with something greasy and deep fried! $4 for the o-rings and $5 for the zucchini. I loved a good onion ring that is hand made, not those frozen things, they just aren't the same. These are fresh and beer battered ones, a classic version of a great side. The onions are thick and chunky and the batter was nice and crisp. Though these has a slight undertone taste of burnt like they stayed in the fryer a couple seconds too long or the oil still had lingering flavor from something else that got burnt. Still, they were good. The zucchini is not something they do often, they were a special of the week kind of thing. Too bad, they were crispy and fresh and you get a decent sized order, they should definitely bring these on full time.
Here we have the Niman Ranch all beef hot dog on a toasted egg bun for $5.99 and you get to add some toppings at not additional charge so I got ALL OF THEM! Ketchup, mustard, mayo, diced red onion, grilled onions, sweet relish, dill pickles, sauerkraut, tomatoes and pickled jalapenos. And for $1 extra, they melted a bunch of cheese on it.
It is a luscious and juicy beef dog with a colorful array of flavors from all the toppings and the sharp cheddar cheese. It is big, it is messy and it is yummy. Plus I felt like I was getting something healthy out of it with all those veggie additions.
With all those additions this thing is huge and by far (with the toppings) it is the best bargain on their menu. More than that, it is actually one of the better food bargains you will find at the Ferry Building. If you just get this, it won't break your budget and is quite filling for a nice quick lunch or bite to eat. Couldn't do it all the time of course, but it definitely fills a hunger void.
Then we come to the burgers since it is the whole reason we came in the first place.
Here's the Wisconsin sourdough burger for $11. That is 1/3 pound of ground beef on toasted and buttered sourdough bread with grilled mushrooms, bacon, cheddar cheese, mayo and bbq sauce. For the most part they do a nice job. The burger was medium with some pink inside and you could easily taste the smokiness of the bacon and a little tang from the buttery sourdough and a bbq sauce that is more hickory than sweet.
The big drawback for me is this isn't the biggest of burgers or sandwiches for that matter. The whole pretty much fits in the palm of my hand and I don't have the biggest of hands to begin with. I can pretty much finish this in about 6 bites. I rail against $10 sandwiches and this falls right into my rant. I mean the hot dog looked bigger. And the price is just for the burger, no sides. It is tasty enough, but not really $11 tasty.
This is the basic hamburger with lettuce, tomato, pickle and secret sauce (pretty much like that stuff on a Big Mac) on a toasted egg bun--for $7. Again, cooked nicely and get the flavor of the char from the grill. But it is on the smallish side for a burger. I've had breakfast sandwiches bigger than this. Yeah, yeah, I know all about the whole quality ingredients and the cost of doing restaurant business in SF but I can go to Super Duper for a burger just as good and not as much. There are kind of food truck burger prices.
What does that ultimately mean? Honestly, for Gott's, not much. They are in the Ferry Building which gets lots of tourists and when people travel here they sort of expect things are going to cost more than wherever they are from, unless it's New York. The food is good enough overall to pass tourist muster and have them look past prices.
For the rest of us that live here, I guess if you don't mind paying that price for a burger, then by all means, go right ahead. Me, I would just skip the burgers and most of their sandwiches as they fall into that price range that rankles me. Still, they do have the hot dog which I'll label a hidden gem for locals and the onion rings (if cooked properly) are mostly decent too. And you can get BOTH of those for the price of just one of their sandwiches. While that may not be enough to seek them out on a regular basis, if you are in the hood and craving some good 'ol American comfort food, it is definitely an option.