Pearl’s Phat Burgers in Mill Valley

by foodhoe on December 10, 2010

8 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941 | 415.381.6010 | facebook

I’ve been reading Josh Ozersky‘s (aka Mister Cutlets) informative book The Hamburger: A History, which may explain my recent obsession with burgers.  I do love a good juicy well-made cheeseburger. It’s an affordable luxury and the ultimate comfort food, which is best enjoyed in its pure simplicity.  We happened to be exploring the north bay recently and ended up here in posh swanky Mill Valley with some visiting dignitaries from Mr. K’s extended family.

The menu features beef from Niman Ranch, and you can upgrade to kobe, buffalo, or Estancia grassfed beef.  They also have hot dogs, grilled cheese sandos, chicken, turkey, and veggie burgers and salads.

All burgers are served with mayo, lettuce, onion and tomato, but you can order any manner of deluxe burger with all the fixings.  An especially cool touch is the container of crunchy dill pickle slices where you can help yourself.

And I was elated to see Frings ($3.50) on the menu, a combination of French Fries and Onion Rings (hence the name) that I order whenever I see it on the menu.  The rings were very good with light crunchy batter that sometimes exposes the onion which has been crunchified in the fryer.  The batter is a bit delicate, which makes the batter-onion ratio a little off.

You can order a Mini Phatburger with cheese ($5.39), a non-supersized version of the phatburger, made with a richly charred spheroid of juicy Niman Ranch beef, in a bun that had a very nice heft but with a heavenly soft interior.

The burger was cooked perfectly to order, the inside was juicy and pink, just the way I like it.  Pristine and clean tasting, it had all of the right placement of the ingredients and well proportioned too.  Sigh… wish there was a Pearl’s in my town…

Now that’s just purty isn’t it?  Not just a bacon cheeseburger, but this is a Bacon Kobe Cheeseburger ($10.50)

Here’s another burger with bacon, a trait that is quite popular with this crew.  The Hawaiian Burger ($8.49) which includes sliced pineapple, bacon, teriyaki sauce, jack cheese and mayo.

Bula Burger ($7.99) which includes bacon, swiss, mayo and bula sauce made from crushed pineapple, habanero chili peppers, spicy bbq and teriyaki sauce.

The interior is well lit and cozy.  The dining area has a few tables and there’s a tiny little counter on one side.  Local celebrity chef Tyler Florence (a Mill Valley resident) proclaimed Pearls Phat Burger with Bacon and Cheese to be the best burger he ever ate on the Food Network show last year.  Pearl’s also won the Burger Challenge Cook-Off at last year’s Great American Food and Music Fest, which was judged by Chef Bobby Flay and the folks from the Food Network.

Sylvia Park Yi, owner and chef revealed her secrets: “Start with natural, organic ground chuck, with a lean-to-fat ratio of 80/20 (which makes the juiciest burgers) and divide it into one-third pounds and firmly pat them into tight discs. Press each disc into a patty between wax paper, foil, or plastic wrap, whatever you have on hand. Take your thumb and make a depression in the middle of each patty to prevent them from bubbling up while cooking and help them cook evenly. Sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides of the patty just before cooking. Flip the burger once so you don’t lose too much of its juices and don’t smash it down while cooking. Have those napkins ready because a great burger is measured by how many napkins you need!”

Pearl's Phat Burger on Urbanspoon

p.s. while trying to find info on Pearl’s Phat burger (no website), I came across this strange and bizarre YouTube on Paula Deen’s crispy creme burger…  holy cow…

Secretly, I admit that I do kinda of want to take a taste

And I found some serious burger love out there

Hamburger America

A Hamburger Today (serious eats)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa December 10, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Mmmhhh, bacon in burgers!




Kirk December 10, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Hey FH – Now that is one perfectly cooked burger!


Single Guy Ben December 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wow, didn’t realize we had such a famous burger joint right in our backyard! While I’m not a big burger person because of the red meat, I admit I do crave it after drinking. So it’s not really comfort food for me rather than a hangover-prevention meal! 😉 Not a fan of all that red onion, but do like the bun. But Hawaiian burger with jack cheese and mayo? Oi vey!


Janus December 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm

If you ever make it to Louisville, here’s where you can get the best burgers in the Derby City:


foodhoe December 18, 2010 at 10:08 am

Janus, that condiment spread looks like a salad bar, wow!


grace December 12, 2010 at 4:31 am

very few types of food porn strike me as strongly as burger food porn. that bula burger sounds amazing.


Carolyn Jung December 12, 2010 at 8:04 pm

Oooh, that bulah sauce sure sounds buh-tiful to me! 😉
Sounds like it would be great on many other things besides burgers, too. Wonder if they would sell a vat?


Gastronomer December 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm

YES YES YES!!! I am loving this burger streak that you have goin’ on here! Pearl’s sounds like a dreamy dream. Tyler Florence, too 😉


Cookie December 13, 2010 at 5:03 pm

For some crazy reason, I’ve seen this episode where Paula makes the donut burgers and secretly wanna taste it as well! I mean, who wouldn’t right?


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