Luka's Taproom and Lounge~: 2221 Broadway at Grand in Oakland
Cost: $12.50 (bacon cheeseburger, fries included)
~ Honorable Mention
Image Source: blogger's own (sorry, I really ought to practice my photography...)
As the name of the restaurant suggests, Luka's Taproom has quite a large selection of beers on tap and in bottles. There's roughly 16 on tap and 20 in bottles. Plus they've got quite a selection of Belgian beers. Luka's also has a full bar with a good selection of top shelf liquor and wine. They have great food too (so I've heard). I've eaten there a handful of times in the past, but I've only sampled their burgers.
Luka's is also what I like to describe as the "heart of Oakland", or specifically "my Oakland", within the walkable radius of where I live. Always very friendly, good vibes including the promotion of music, dance and spirit, and alcohol consumption - nightly. The people that go represents a good cross-section of the diversity in Oakland.
Today I ordered a "rare" bacon cheeseburger with gouda and that came to about $12.50, and it comes with Belgian fries and "dipping sauce" which includes aioli, chipotle aioli and a third sauce that resembles ketchup in consistency, texture and color. I found out from the server that the burger can even be ordered "super rare" but based on my recent experience at Beale Street Grill, I decided to hold off. My burger was served about medium, but it did ooze out a pretty significant trail of blood as I lifted it off the plate and took my first bite. Luka's serves up a pretty hefty 1/2 lb. patty on a nicely toasted bun.
"Quality" best describes the burger experience at Luka's. The fries are superb. The dipping sauces also really delight the taste buds.
Caveat: Unless you like eating fries soggy with burger blood, eat your fries before even touching your burger. That is, if you're like me, and prefer rare burgers.
Verdict: Why is it that the first time is always the best? My first burger at Luka's (it was also a bacon cheeseburger) was pretty magical. However, it's always a very enjoyable burger experience at Luka's.