I'm not one that craves burgers. Yet I have not been able to resist the temptation of making a weekly visit to Mission Street Food's Mission Burger. The stand is run by two chefs that that used to man the stoves at Bar Tartine. And they prepare everything with care -- the burger is a well seasoned blend of brisket, short rib and chuck formed into a column of meat. It's then cut into burger patties so that the grain of the meat is lined up and cut against the grain creating a burger tender to the bite. The burger then gets a good char on the flat top with beef fat giving it that old school greasy spoon diner flavor. The beefy goodness is accompanied by a toasted Acme bun, caper aioli, jack cheese, well carmelized onions and a garnish of grilled hot peppers. Their caper aioli has a zing to it, but the burger could use a bit more of an acid element. Instead of ketchup, I opt for a cup of their tangy mint lemonade which cuts right through the rich burger. Good combination.
After a few visits, I began to sample the specials. Their perfectly fried halibut, with a light crispy batter hit the spot on a hot day. Another time they were topping the burger with a Soul Food Farms fried egg and Benton's Bacon. I'm a sucker for runny egg yolks. As much as I enjoyed the rich yolk and bacon, it was a bit over the top.
The guys recently added chili cheese fries to the menu. A meaty chili with a spicy kick over their crispy fries. If I didn't crave their burger so much, I'd just order these fries for lunch.
Because I'd been happy with everything they'd ever fed me, I decided to really put myself in their hands by trying the vegan burger. Yes, I have eaten at Millenium and Cafe Gratitude, but other than that, I have never purposely ordered or knowingly eaten anything vegan. These guys start with their own patty of mushrooms, edamame and some other good tasting stuff, fried, then topped with crunchy fennel slaw and a chili paste that looked like sambal olek.
The vegan patty didn't hold together as well as the beef burger. A nearby diner admired my eating gusto and commented that I was making a mess like one of those sloppy burger commercials. Aside from the soft texture of the patty, I wouldn't change a thing about the vegan burger -- it was delicious and, to my surprise, almost as hearty as the beef burger. I would definitely order this again.
Corner of 18h & Mission inside Duc Loi Market.