Epic Roasthouse reintroduced limited lunch service (Wednesdays through Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) last week after a hiatus of a few years. We dropped in yesterday to give it a try and gravitated toward chef Jan Birnbaum's Explosion Burger ($20), which is also now Epic's only burger and available for dinner as well.
We were dining at the invitation of the restaurant, and know $20 burger is definitely at the high end of what's offered around town. We wondered what would arrive at the table. Once it did, we understood more.
We didn't weigh it, but guess it might have clocked in around half a pound. The plate included lettuce, green tomato slices, and exceptional pickled vegetables, plus it came with a separate tray of little dishes of additional condiments like a truffle aioli with actual flecks of truffle in it; large, fresh bacon bits; mushrooms; a beautifully seedy mustard; and ketchup that tasted like a mix of smoky-spicy BBQ sauce and fresh tomatoes. And, you're probably paying a couple of bucks extra for one of the best Bay Bridge and East Bay views a San Francisco restaurant has to offer, a sight that shouldn't be the exclusive domain of tourists.
Turns out the "explosion" comes quite literally if you order cheese (cheddar or Morbier, an earthy cow's milk variety). A generous amount is stuffed in the center of the patty, where it awaits an unsuspecting knife -- or mouth.
A beautiful beast of a burger, it takes either a hungry single eater to take this one down or works well as a civilized split between a party of two.