Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

No. 31: Lark Creek Steak's Steakburger

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 5:49 PM

click to enlarge The steakburger ($12.95) at Lark Creek Steak in the Westfield San Francisco Centre. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • The steakburger ($12.95) at Lark Creek Steak in the Westfield San Francisco Centre.

SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

click to enlarge sf_92.jpg

We're a city of burgers: the homely, the buttery, the embarrassing. And while it's relatively easy to put out a good-tasting burger if you've buried the thing under aioli, bacon, and onion jam, it's hard to do minimal well. To be perfect, each object in a very limited field of elements has to be exactly right.

Lark Creek Steak's steakburger comes close, thanks to scraps. New chef Ismael Macias (longtime sous at another Lark Creek property, One Market) explains that what makes the burger so delicious is that it's a sort of byproduct of Lark Creek Steak's in-house butchery. The kitchen takes all the bits and off-cuts from its Marin Sun Farms rib eyes and New York steaks, Wagyu filets, and other flotsam of prime-meat trim and sends them through the grinder a couple of times. "All the ends, all the bits of fat," Macias says, "all the meats that come in every day."

But one person's scrap bin is another's dream patty. Coarse-ground, in an 8-ounce disc the cooks don't salt till it's already on the grill (stays juicier that way), blackened ― even at medium-rare ― over a mix of mesquite charcoal and almond wood on Lark Creek Steak's spitjack grill ― this is a burger that stands up to the elemental. Within its exoskeleton of char, the meat's soft, infused with the campfire sweetness of wood smoke. It's sheathed in a sesame brioche bun from Panorama that convinces you it tastes buttery from seeds alone, a bun that collapses just enough. It doesn't dissolve into a panade from the meat's juices or register as bready, cottony, or dry. And sure, the steakburger comes with a stack of tomato, grilled onions, and slices of very tasty house-cured pickles, but you don't need them to plaster over deficiencies.

Just ask Macias. He says he tries to watch what he eats ― a piece of grilled chicken, maybe, when he's working. His first burger here? He intended to eat just half. "It's so good I ate the whole thing," Macias says. We hear you.

Lark Creek Steak: In the Westfield San Francisco Centre, 845 Market (at Fourth St.), Suite 402, 593-4100.

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño

91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu

90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha

89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar

88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline

87: Outerlands' levain bread

86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt

85: Gyro King's spinach pie

84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi

83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu

82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tarts

81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée

80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle

79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña

78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe

77: Cheesecake from Zanze's

76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel

75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra

74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch

73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup

72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk

71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille

70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery

69: Plow's crispy potatoes

68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye

67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe

66: Nakaochi at Ippuku

65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer

64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut

63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah

62: Cotogna's roasted carrots

61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles

60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.

59: The Slanted Door's Whiskey Cocktail

58: Carnitas burrito from Taqueria San Francisco

57: Sakura mochi from Benkyodo

56: Birria at Gallardos

55: BBQ pork skewers at Fil-Am Cuisine

54: JapaCurry's katsu curry

53: Vegan flan at Gracias Madre

52: Cinderella Bakery's pelmeni

51: Locavore's maple andouille sausage

50: Lumpia from Hapa SF

49: Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czeck

48: Filetti pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana

47: Pupusas revueltas at La Santaneca

46: Khoresht ghaymeh at Maykadeh

45: Los Muertos at Gitane

44: Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions

43: Nicasio Valley Cheese Company's square

42: Nopalito's quesadilla roja

41: Croissant from Sandbox Bakery

40: Cultured's burdock kasu-zuke pickles

39: Sticky chewy chocolate ice cream at Swensen's

38: Maverick's warm Brussels sprouts with slow-cooked egg

37: Roast chicken from Limón Rotisserie

36: Seven Hills' raviolo uovo

35: Morning bun from Pinkie's Bakery

34: Kaw soi dok at Mandalay

33: Fatted Calf's meatloaf sandwich

32: Duck larb at Thai House Express

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook. Contact me at

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , ,


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"