The mighty Marlowe Burger

by foodhoe on August 3, 2015

500 Brannan Street, SF  94107 | 415.777.1413 | website


Mr. K and I had wandered by after an event in the city and the big tile M in the entryway caught my eye.  I suddenly realized that we were standing at the entrance to Marlowe, home of Michael Bauer’s favorite burger.  Michael Bauer, if you don’t know, is the food critic of our local paper, the SF Chronicle and over the years he has continued to proclaim that this is his favorite in the city.  I have been wanting to try the now famous Marlowe burger and the meat-centric menu of New American bistro favorites by chef Jennifer Puccio whose cuisine I had enjoyed when she was at Cortez years ago. They moved to this larger location at the former Coco 500/Bizou restaurant last year, which has a butcher shop theme with white hexagonal floor tile, quilted stainless steel walls and drawings of animals marked for cuts.  This photo of the bar from their website captures the sleek look and feel of the place which was designed by Ken Fulk.


photo courtesy of Marlowe website

We walked up and were seated right away (w/o reservations mind you), out in their cozy patio in the back.


We shared a light meal of oysters on the half shell then split the Marlowe burger with a salad (instead of fries).  I swooned over the burger, which really did live up to its reputation – it’s on all the lists of the best burgers in San Francisco.  At $16 it is rather expensive but is made with top quality ingredients and includes a side of their excellent french fries.  The 6 oz patty is made from a mixture of finely ground beef with a small percentage of lamb to add rich flavor, is expertly cooked on the grill to a delectable char, topped with cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, thin slices of crisp salty bacon, shredded romaine lettuce and horseradish aioli. The pungent, rich aioli also acts as a moisture barrier between the toasted Acme bun and the juices released from the burger, which are plentiful if you order it medium-rare (recommended).  Each bite is well balanced and so moreish that it’s gone before you know it.


I couldn’t stop thinking about that burger and pined for months that I wanted to go back for another.  I went to the Cavalier, which is run by the same team and was sadly disappointed with that burger (future post), which only made me want the Marlowe burger even more… I finally set a date with a group of friends for a birthday brunch and I got to sit next to Logan who brought along an assortment of dinos to keep us entertained.


We began with a couple of snacks: deviled eggs served warm with provolone, bacon and pickled jalapenos ($2.50 each)


We shared the dungeness CRAB toast ($12) with cultured butter, poached egg, crisp frisee and lemon.


My friend Kathy was so enthusiastic about the fried chicken sandwich that Mr. K and I decided we had to try it, so split that and the burger.  My plate with their wonderful fries, which are served with horseradish aioli.


The burger was as good as we remembered, each bite was full of rich meaty flavor, bright acidic creamy aioli, crisp lettuce, salty crunchy bacon and gooey melted cheese.  The fresh cut fries are fried in rice oil, and have a marvelous crispy exterior with tender soft innards.  They are well seasoned and addictive to boot, this fully satisfied my craving for the moment.


Mr. K ordered salad as per his usual, which was a perfectly dressed fresh spring mix


I loved the Fried Chicken Sandwich almost as much as the burger.  There were several pieces of juicy dark meat with a thick, crunchy well seasoned batter.  You can see it has the same treatment, aioli on the bun, a layer of crispy bacon, well dressed greens


Cherie and Sarah shared Dungeness crab and rock shrimp crepes ($18) fines herbs, head lettuce and spicy citrus hollandaise.  They were far down the table and Kathy took this photo for me, I didn’t taste it but it looks delicious, no?


The buttermilk pancakes ($13) were drenched with smoked butter and maple bacon syrup, which made the seemingly humble stack filthy rich and glamorous.


We finished off with a couple of desserts from James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Emily Lucchetti—formerly of Farallon and Waterbar and author of six cookbooks.  The Loretta’s Vacherin ($10) refers back to previous chef-owner Loretta Keller’s Coco500 vacherin: meringue topped with coffee ice cream, crème anglaise, chocolate sauce, and toasted almonds.  This was indulgently rich and decadent, I couldn’t resist taking bite after bite of the crunchy chewy meringue with the tongue tantalizing toppings.


And since we had a youngster at the table, we felt a need to order something fruity and light and got the Strawberry Shortcake ($9), made with vanilla chantilly and fresh strawberries, which was a fine ending to the weighty but wonderous meal.


The Marlowe Burger has secured a spot on my list of favorites, and when I feel a need to once more validate this experience, I plan to visit to the burger shrine itself, Marlowe Burger, which the owners re-opened at the original location that is dedicated to its namesake.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa August 3, 2015 at 11:22 am

Mouthwatering burgers and desserts!




Shikha @ Shikha la mode August 5, 2015 at 7:22 pm

Hahaha I love the dinosaurs attending the meal. Looks awesome!


grace August 6, 2015 at 11:15 am

it kind of looks like too much bread for such a burger, so it really must be some outstanding meat!


foodhoe August 9, 2015 at 5:18 pm

I am usually a double double girl, and the bread to meat proportions of this were spot on.


Brenda Ton August 17, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Oh my god, these photos… mouthwatering. Beautiful, beautiful food.


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