We usually don't resort to looking up restaurant names in the dictionary, but when you call yourself Acme -- "the highest point or stage; one that represents perfection of the thing expressed" -- you're asking for it. Would you be shocked to know that Acme Burgerhaus
, which opened late last week on Divisadero, offers a decent burger that isn't anywhere close to being the acme of anything?
In a space slightly nicer than fast food, with five tables and arty photos of musicians on the walls (for sale at $250 and $550!), Acme offers your choice of eight different half-pound burgers: Niman Ranch beef, chicken, Boca, salmon, buffalo, lamb, and so-called Kobe beef, $6.95-$10.95 (add cheese for 50 cents more). Sides include regular and sweet potato fries, chili-cheese fries, and beer-battered onion rings, chili cheese fries ($2.95-$3.95). There's also a choose-your-own-toppings salad (spring mix or spinach, plus seven ingredients from a list of over two dozen, $5.95; add grilled steak, chicken, or tuna for $2), with a choice of four bottled dressings. Beverages are limited to soda and six beers on tap: Anchor Steam, Sierra Nevada, Amstel Light, Blue Moon, Pabst, and IPA.
We tried the buffalo burger ($7.95), mindful that the mild-tasting meat is unusually lean and therefore difficult to cook accurately. Sure enough, our medium-rare burger came out closer to medium, but still slightly juicy. The toppings bar included romaine, pale tomatoes, thick-sliced red onion, good-quality dill pickle spears, and both sliced and pickled jalapeños, as well as the largest dispensers of mayo, ketchup, and mustard we've ever seen. Fully dressed, our burger was, well -- okay. Our favorite part was the grilled, glossy brioche-like bun.
By 12:45 today, Acme had run out of beer-battered onion rings (we watched the last salmon burger walk out the door, too). We substituted sweet potato fries -- crinkle-cut frozen ones. They came out of the fryer with good texture but little flavor.
The real appeal here just might be that Acme stays open until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and that a draft beer costs $1.95 between 3 and 10 p.m. That hardly represents perfection of the thing expressed, but it's something.
Acme Burgerhaus 559 Divisadero (at Hayes), 346-3212. Sun-Thu, 11 a.m.-midnight; Fri-Sat, 11 a.m.-3 a.m.