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The new NB fast food: La Parilla vs. Burgermeister

steaklist | Mar 31, 200503:39 PM

Over the weekend, I tried two, new North Beach outposts of SF “fast food” restaurants: La Parilla Grill (ne Pollo Supremo) and Burgermeister.

I thought Burgermeister was great. I’ve never been to their other locations, but I’ll being going back to the one on Columbus. Their regular burger ($7.15) was made with a hearty 8 oz. patty (natural beef via Niman Ranch). It was requested and cooked medium with a strong flavor that was predominantly smoke, but tasted great. It included a side of hot crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside fries, good! I appreciated the small condiment bar of ketchup, Dijon, jalapenos, etc. The interior is an odd shape, but it’s done nicely and I wouldn’t mind staying long enough to nurse on of their beers on tap. A welcome addition to the neighborhood, especially for those soon to be working up an appetite from laps in the nearby NB pool.

La Parilla was okay. The ultimate blandness of my chicken burrito was made up by the fact that everything tasted really fresh. The (grilled) chicken was pulled from the bone upon my ordering and then diced. It was added to a griddled (thank god) tortilla, with a huge (too much) scoop of arroz negro, refried beans (bland), a watery-thin salsa verde (could this be what they referred to as guacamole?), a fresh pico de gallo (still frothy from the blender) and a couple squirts of the crema (how long do they keep that plastic “ketchup bottle” container out?). Here’s the best part about the place: after wrapping it all up, they then toss it back on the griddle. But it really was a bland burrito. I had to overpour the hottest salsa they had (Ol' Frothy - which didn't have much heat) with every bite.

They just opened last week, and they did *not* have their act together. It took a long time to order (I was the only one there save Lawrence Ferlinghetti who was being waited on by a woman who was all smiles) and it took a long time to get my food. The salsa bar had containers of two pico de gallos (the one above and another that appeared less spicy), the watery green salsa, and nacho ring jalapenos! Okay, they need to get some limes, cilantro and real, whole jalapenos, and then we’ll talk. I have a feeling this place will be great after one too many at Vesuvio, but before then, I’ll probably continue to make my burritos at home.

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