Cafe Rouge~: 1782 Fourth Street in Berkeley
Cost: $13.00 (niman ranch bacon cheeseburger, fries included)
~ Honorable Mention
Image Source: blogger's own
Cafe Rouge is located in Berkeley's Fourth Street shopping district. I often spend time perusing the book stores and design stores in the area, and always noticed that Cafe Rouge gets quite crowded on the weekends. This year, I had Martin Luther King Day off from work, and thought it would be an opportune time to survey the Rouge Burger.
To my surprise, the restaurant was still bustling when I arrived toward the latter portion of their lunch service, but I did manage to find a seat on the sunny patio, though it was a brisk January afternoon. Service was a bit slow, and the crowdedness further prevented me from tracking down my server for certain requests. I ordered their 1/2 lb. Niman Ranch Rouge Burger with bacon and aged cheddar with "medium-rare" as the grilling preference. About forty minutes later (no exaggeration) my order arrived.
My order was completely cold when it arrived. It was actually pretty ridiculous, did they forget about me? I wondered. Don't they know who I am? I opened my burger up and inspected the cold, untoasted 'bun' which highly resembled a potato-rosemary sourdough roll; there wasn't any mayonnaise. I requested mayo from two different servers but had no response from either of them. It wasn't until I actually tracked down my original server that I got a side of mayo. I could finally commence.
Verdict: Well, I certainly didn't want Cafe Rouge's inherently poor service to dampen the actual burger review. Despite the "cold" burger and similarly "cold" service, the burger patty was surprisingly tasty. The Rouge Burger has a very unique, seasoned patty with an interesting palette for the taste buds. The combination of flavors was sensational. The bun though cold and untoasted, held up to the extremely juicy patty - and also held it's own in combination with the other tastes I experienced. I would definitely try this burger again to indulge in these exquisite flavors. Despite the serving temperature of the entree and the lack of service I would still recommend the Rouge Burger for other burger enthusiasts.