Thursday, September 13, 2007

Have It Your Way. Literally.

A few days before I was scheduled to fly out to New Orleans, Custom Burger / Lounge, a new eatery, opened up within one block of my workplace. The San Francisco Chronicle lauded the restaurant for being half-lounge, half-burger joint. Indeed, Custom Burger is a gourmet version of Fuddruckers, if you will.

I am all about customization. Just look at my vehicle. I might not have a gold-plated grill, spinning hubcaps, painted flames, or a upward-reaching foil, but I do have a pine tree-shaped air freshener and two plush dice dangling from the rear view mirror. Thus, I knew that I would like Custom Burger, where I could choose everything and anything for my burger lunch.

When I arrived at the restaurant for lunch on opening day, I was surprised by the significant line. However, the burgers are made-to-order, so a wait is more or less to be expected. Even with the wait (and the extended time to review the menu), I still had trouble deciding what to order. After much agonizing and indecisiveness, I finally decided that my burger would be made of an Angus beef patty with a rosemary focaccia bun and creamy blue cheese sauce. For my three toppings, I opted for balsamic marinated onions, sauteed mushrooms, and arugula.

Thankfully, my selected toppings melded together well. The balsamic marinated onions were supple and pleasantly acidic. The deep, bronzed color of the onions reminded me of a comforting bowl of warm French onion soup. The fresh arugula provided a verdant color and a biting and taste bud-awakening zestiness to my burger. Finally, the concentrated and meaty flavors in the sauteed mushrooms accentuated the smoky aroma from the Angus beef patty.

My open-faced burger was served in a wire basket with a plastic cup of the blue cheese sauce on the side. I was afraid the blue cheese sauce would overpower the other ingredients, however, the blue cheese crumbles were heavily diluted in mayonnaise. Thus, the sauce befittingly acted as the "back-up vocals" to the other powerful flavors in my burger.

I also tried the tower of beer-battered onion rings, and the "half and half" order of fries, which included sea salted skin-on potato fries and sweet potato fries. Thankfully, the sweet potato fries were crisp and freshly fried, not limp and lifeless. However, I was a little put off by the uneven clumps of batter on the sweet potato fries. The regular fries were unremarkable, but were paired pleasantly with the burger.

The "towering" presentation of the onion rings was amusing, and, just as I like 'em, the piping hot onion string inside slid out easily from the breaded onion ring tunnels.

My only beef with
Custom Burger (pun intended), is that it wasn't really "custom" for two of my friends and fellow diners. My friends ordered the sesame bun, but were given the plain bun instead. Similarly, a bun substitution also happened to Bunrab!

Despite those shortcomings, if I was in the area, I think I would "lounge" around
Custom Burger again.


  1. sounds pretty yummy to me! i love that tower of onion rings. how hilarious!

  2. We used to get onion rings like that at the beach, back when I was a kid, at a place called Mr. Mikes in Salisbury Beach, NH. They'd put them in a little take-out box, and stack them waaaay up on 2 straws. They were the best rings. Mikes is gone now (the last time we got rings there was back in high school), but the little strip in Salisbury is still there, complete with arcades and other typical beach foods--fried dough, pizza, ice cream, dogs and sausages, and the ever popular cotton candy. Thanks for the memory!

  3. There's a place (well 4 or 5 now) in Ottawa, Ontario, Cananda that does gourmet burgers, sweet potato fries, and the best tower of onion rings you'll ever eat. It's called the Works Burger and if you ever make it up here to Ottawa I highly recommend it.

  4. I hope they gave you caramel dipping sauce with those sweet potato fries..Yum!

  5. I used to eat those as a hangover cure in NYC. They have had those all over the damn place for years.

  6. We're back to San Francisco then. I am getting jet lagged between the posts!
    Your burger looks excellent. You chose wisely.

  7. You got some appetite on you, honey!!
    But yes, I agree that you chose well.

  8. What about that pie?

  9. Sweet potato fries are my fav to order. Haven't tried making them though. The local burger place serves them with white chocolate dipping sauce. SOOOO GOOOOD

  10. i wish i had this meal right now.

  11. Omg onion rings are my weak spot. *drools*

  12. if you're ever back in the LA area again, there's a similar place called The Counter in Santa Monica (, as well as San Jose, Palo Alto, and Plano (TX). They have very tasty sweet potato fries, too! =)

  13. Oh gosh, sounds great Elle!

    Thank you everyone for your great comments! Caramel and white chocolate dipping sauce! Gollee golly, that sounds to-die-for! And I love all the recommenacdations!


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