Il Pollaio: 555 Columbus Avenue in North Beach San Francisco
Cost: $8.75 (cheeseburger, fries or salad included)
Image Source: blogger's own
I took Latin in high-school, and unfortunately to this day, I can't claim to have possessed the ability to speak, read or write a word of latin. Therefore, I don't even try to read or comprehend foreign language signs. When "Il Pollaio" was recommended as a best burger from a burger enthusiast acquaintance, I didn't think twice about the literal translation. I just thought, 'shoot I have to try this burger.' Famished, one day after work, I decided to trek up to North Beach to sample the Il Pollaio burger.
I walk in this dining establishment, and the place is packed. There's an open-flame grill in the corner with about a dozen whole chickens getting fired up. I sit down, and the whole menu is chicken. I couldn't find any burger anywhere on the menu. I was a little nervous, and started to perspire; however, I was confident there must be a burger, or why else would this person recommend this spot to me!?
The waitress arrived, and I asked meekly if they had a burger. She pointed to the very bottom of the menu, and in tiny print, there's a description that alludes to some sort of burger. Without relooking at the menu description, I ordered their cheeseburger "medium-rare". When I asked them if I could add bacon, there was no bacon. I began to sweat even more.
So, the place was packed, there's dozens of chickens on the grill, everyone is eating chicken and drinking wine, and I've just ordered their burger in fine print on the menu.
Verdict: The order was taking way longer than expected. It was an open kitchen in the middle of the dining room, and I noticed that the cooks were on their smoke break every 2 minutes. 'Someone should be carefully monitoring the grill' I thought. There is a very fine line between rare and medium-rare, and medium-rare and medium, and medium and medium-well...
The order arrived, and I saw a huge, honking slab of meat between two Italian bread rolls. There were no condiments, just the slab of meat, two pieces of bread and lettuce, tomato and onions. It looked dry to me. I requested mayonnaise on the side, and was handed four squeezable packets. As soon as I saw these packets of squeezable mayonnaise, I kind of knew what to expect.
The burger was completely dry and over-cooked. This was probably the first time in my life where I didn't even get half-way through the burger. I thought the whole time, 'should've ordered chicken'...