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Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Call at Mission Burger

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 4:30 PM

RIP, you hideous old thing. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • RIP, you hideous old thing.
Saturday's the last day for Mission Burger ― chef and burger maker Danny Bowien's leaving for South Korea to get married, while founder Anthony Myint looks ahead to Commonwealth.

I'm sad, the city should be sad ― name the last original burger you had in this town? Bowien and Myint devised something salty and unlovely, hulking and uneatable without it dissolving in your fingers, grease-sodden hunks dropping onto the hipster sofa shoved into a corner of Duc Loi. They got the name just right: It did seem to express something essential about the Mission, its jacked-up vitality and broke-down means, its gentrified aspirations and social conscience.

The first time I ate Myint and Bowien's burger I hated it. Barely pink, toxic with grease and sodium. On my second visit, it began to seduce me. By my third burger I loved it ― no, I respected the fearlessness behind it. And the fact that a buck from each burger went to the San Francisco Food Bank made me respect its makers.

Myint has said the burger expressed his notion of adding value to cheap ingredients: using imagination and technique to take less glamorous cuts than sirloin or chuck and turn them into something notable. Myint and Bowien have reverence for starred chefs, and it was a description by England's Heston Blumenthal that inspired the Duc Loi burger.

Here's how Bowien once described its inception to SFoodie: "We didn't just want to buy some Prather Ranch, which everybody does ― and it's delicious, don't get me wrong ― but we wanted to make something where we could show that you could take something ordinary and turn it into something special." Go admire it one last time tomorrow.

Mission Burger at Duc Loi Supermarket 2200 Mission (at 18th St.), 551-1772.

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