June 5, 2015

Berkeley: Eureka!; restaurant review

80 North

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).

interior of Eureka! in Berkeley, California

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.

The Original Eureka! burger at Eureka! in Berkeley, California

house side salad at Eureka! in Berkeley, California

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.”

Pearl Street Blues Burger at Eureka! in Berkeley, California

Since a goodly selection of mixed drinks is offered, I selected a grapefruit-rum Hemingway cocktail and thought it went beautifully with my burger.

Hemingway cocktail at Eureka! in Berkeley, California

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.

butterscotch rum pudding at Eureka! in Berkeley, California

Additional popular menu possibilities include a beer sampler (four small beers), lollipop corn dogs, and honey cinnamon sweet potato fries.

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