Oishii Embarcadero: 4 Embarcadero Center in San Francisco
Cost: $5.07 (angus cheeseburger, fries included)
Image Source: blogger's own
The first Oishii Cafe review was an utter disappointment (see 16 August 2006 review). Since their Sumo burger came as a recommendation from a former coworker and fellow burger enthusiast, I felt that I owed them a proper review since the previous Oishii is only a small take-out window that is literally smaller than a tiny newspaper stand.
The moment I decided on the re-review, I was already imagining the finest marbleized kobe beef steaks being grounded for these burgers. I knew that the Japanese weren't unfamiliar with perfection and technical precision. With this confidence, I gathered up my burger posse to head up the review at 4 Embarcadero Center.
The interior of Oishii is stuck in a time capsule that hasn't progressed with the times. It doesn't appear to have changed since the office towers were constructed in the early 1980's while the surrounding retail and commercial storefronts have all gone through extensive renovations and upgrades. Because of this visually unstimulating decor, we decided on a table outside overlooking Justin Herman Plaza.
Verdict: I really knew something was amiss when there wasn't any bacon available for my burger; and there weren't many (if any) burger permutations offered. Also, it was a sit-down restaurant and the wait staff didn't ask for grilling preference. Just to make sure, I asked if they grill their burgers to order, but I got a really strange look when I explicitly requested "medium-rare", and I felt like this was probably the first time anybody has ever made such a request to them.
Since I was the first one to order, I seemed to have started a trend about requesting personal grilling preferences, because then everyone else started tagging on their preferences to their orders. I could sense that the wait staff wasn't really following our specific requests very carefully, because there were a lot of us, and they didn't seem to be taking very many notes.
Sure enough, when our orders arrived, and I took my first bite, our orders got mixed up. With my luck, I probably ended up with one of the "medium-well" (tasteless) burgers at the table. I surely didn't enjoy the burger. The fries were pretty dry and tasteless too.