Tuesday, May 24, 2011

fivetenburger - Burger & Garlic Fries - Burger Challenge 2011, Part 2

Last week I attempted to review Burger Challenge 2011 between Doc's of the Bay and fivetenburger, but by the time I had arrived at Off the Grid, fiveten had already sold out and Doc's was down to their last burger (see that review here). Last week's Off the Grid email indicated that both trucks would be present at Tuesday's UN Plaza lunch for two weeks, but unfortunately Doc's wasn't there today, so I am still unable to do a side-by-side comparison. I was, however, able to finally try the fiveten burger which confirmed my declaration of last week - they are in fact the winner!

When I arrived at OtG shortly before 12:30 p.m., the line for fiveten had already snaked around the tables and chairs and was the longest of any other line by at least double. Twenty minutes later I was still in the queue, and by now I was worried that I wasn't going to make it to the front in time again. Fortunately, I was able to order, and I chose the original burger "loaded," with American cheese (hold the mayo). The gal taking my order asked me how I wanted it cooked, but I asked for their recommendation, and so she suggested "medium." I also ordered the garlic fries, and I then munched on some other food while I waited for my order.

It took about 10 minutes, but it was well worth the wait! When they called number 43 I rushed up to the window to grab my order and in my white bag I found a mountain of fries and my burger buried underneath it all. I tried the garlic fries first and my first bite was amazing! A lot of garlic fries are merely french fries topped with garlic, but these were somehow garlic infused french fries. I don't know how they do them (note: project to find out!) but they were good and I could have happily sat there all afternoon munching on those fries.

Fiveten has garnered quite the reputation for making a mean burger so I had high expectations, and everyone of them was met. It was juicy, fresh and delicious. Since I ordered it loaded it came with ketchup, mustard, raw onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and a choice of cheese (American, cheddar, or Swiss). I chose American. The bun, which is baked daily at North Beach Bakery was a traditional hamburger bun: soft, airy and golden brown. The thickness of the patty was proportional to the sandwich so that the flavor of the meat was neither overshadowed nor overpowered by the toppings. The best comparison I can make, though they are not really all that similar, is to In-n-Out, but I think it's primarily due to the raw onions. It was a great, great burger.

When I finished my burger I went back to the fries and I noticed after eating a few bites in succession that they were extremely salty. The saltiness of the first bite isn't so bad, as the garlic is the predominant flavor, but after multiple bites the garlic is overpowered by the salt. I love salty fries, but I think fiveten should tone it down just a bit to let the true flavor of the garlic shine through.

As a quick aside, when I was 90% done with my burger I thought to myself, "At least I didn't drip all over the place like I did last week!" Then, not 10 seconds after I had that thought, a huge drip of burger juice, mustard and melted cheese escaped my paper wrapper and fell all over my pants. Why is it that I never have the thought, "I am going to win the lottery!" with the winning scratcher appearing magically on my lap?

I was glad that I made it back to OTG to finally try the burger as fiveten is usually an East Bay truck. They sold out of burgers by the time I was finished eating, so I hope their success in the city leads them to return. I will most certainly be a repeat customer when they do!

Rating: 5/5 (ratings guide)

fivetenburger (@fivetenburger) $6.75 for the burger, $2.50 for garlic fries.

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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