A Pearl's Phatburger just opened up near me in San Francisco, but I thought it'd be more appropriate here since it's a chain. I ordered a buffalo burger, no frills (mayo, tomato, onions, lettuce) and enjoyed it quite a lot.
The plusses: the meat was lean, flavorful, and cooked medium rare on the rare side. It had a hint of that gamey buffalo flavor, but it was similar enough to regular beef that I'll just order regular beef next time (see bonus round for statement retraction). It was nicely cooked, with a little bit of char and that buttery aftertaste that a great burger gets from its fat content. I just wanted a classic burger this time, and the lettuce and tomatoes were both cold and crispy.
The minuses: The onions could have been grilled a little longer (I like my char), and the burger could have used more salt. I solved the second problem by adding ketchup and eating a lot of pickles, but a very light sprinkling of salt over the patty would have been ideal. Still, I much prefer for a restaurant to undersalt than oversalt. This burger has great potential, and I'm willing to cut them some slack in their first weeks.
I love that there's finally a no frills diner in the neighborhood. This is the kind of food people want in the Sirloin (aka. Tendernob). You can get a full meal for under $10, or a light meal for under $5. It's the kind of food that makes you feel like a kid again, the kind that's conducive to sharing with friends and making a big mess. Lovable, familiar, back to basics food. Oh, and they let you have as many pickles as you want. Take the time to pick and choose; one of mine was crispy and the other was limp.
And the vanilla malt shake? Sent me straight to kiddie heaven.