Eureka! 2068 Center St./Shattuck Ave., downtown, (510) 809-8282. L-D daily; $$. No reservations.
This roaringly popular restaurant operates in one big room with an open industrial ceiling and rustic, aged-barn wood walls. Diners sit at heavy cutting-board tables, and large windows look out to the street (in good weather, the window-wall slides back to the open air).
The menu features an array of burgers that all come with the house signature hand-cut fries. Are you ready for the Bone Marrow burger—with bone marrow porcini butter, charbroiled onion, mustard aioli, oven-roasted tomato—or the very popular Fresno Fig Burger—with housemade fig marmalade, melted goat cheese, bacon, tomato, onion, arugula, and spicy porter mustard? You can also order a turkey patty “naked” without its bun atop a bed of dressed arugula. Main courses of salmon, steak, and short rib ragu are among the non-burger options. I zeroed in on The Original Eureka!, a regular burger with iceberg lettuce, pickles, red onion, tomato, and special sauce, plus I added on avocado as an extra. This was the juiciest, most delicious burger I’ve enjoyed in quite a while. Top notch. I upgraded the fries to giant, un-oily panko-crusted onion rings and added a side house salad with delicious parsley vinaigrette dressing.
My dining companion had the Pearl Street Blues Burger--melted blue cheese, herb sautéed wild mushrooms, grilled onions, and chipotle ketchup for the included fries--which he deemed “very good.”
Since a goodly selection of mixed drinks is offered, I selected a grapefruit-rum Hemingway cocktail and thought it went beautifully with my burger.
My companion opted for the more traditional beer, selected from the all-America-made beer list. And all the while we were entertained by a plethora of silent TVs high on the walls and the happy ambiance. Dessert was easy to select—creamy butterscotch rum pudding.
Additional popular menu possibilities include a beer sampler (four small beers), lollipop corn dogs, and honey cinnamon sweet potato fries.
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images ©2015 Carole Terwilliger Meyers