Mel's Diner: 2240 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley
Cost: $9.99 (bacon cheeseburger, fries included)
Image Source: blogger's own
Actually, I don't have anything real positive to report about my dining experience at Mel's in Berkeley. However, I noticed that the establishment disconnected the mini-juke boxes mounted at each booth. Come on people, I'll let the whole '50's diner aesthetic slide (even though we're in the 21st century) - but it's about time those juke boxes were decommissioned. I stopped listening to '50's music way back - before I was born. Instead, Mel's was bumping some lively hip-hop.
So I noticed after I got seated that I didn't have a place setting. But I heard the cling and clang of silverware behind me, so I figured I'd get some with my meal. I ordered their bacon cheeseburger "medium-rare" with a side of fries and a strawberry shake. Regrettably, I should have asked for a place setting when I had the chance.
Verdict: My order arrived without any mayo, and it took me a while to chase down my server and request it. By the time I was served the mayo, I realized again that I didn't have a place setting; and I wasn't about to hunt down my server again. So I just plopped the mayo on my burger and commenced.
My fries were a mixture of half golden-crispy, half uncooked-cold. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell the difference from the outside, so it was sort of gamble eating them. I ended up eating all of my fries, and using the principles of deductive reasoning - concluded that I was served about half golden-crispy, half uncooked-cold.
After the fries consumption, I picked up my burger. Whoa (I thought), this burger is huge! - when I lifted it up. I had to use two hands to get a good handle on it. I took my first bite, and saw just a little juice drip out the end, and that was it. The juice wasn't a bloody stream, instead it was more the color and density of cooking oil - yellowish and translucent.
I analyzed the cross section of the patty and realized a haunting similarity between this patty and an earlier burger experience at Beale Street Bar and Grill (23 June 2006 review). It looked cooked on the outside, but it was raw and dry on the inside. I continued eating the burger out of disbelief - again I was hoping the taste would improve by the time I finished. Unfortunately, it was just poorly cooked all around.