Original Perfect Hamburger

Sorry it’s been so long between posts.  I have been a busy busy bee!  And now I am so behind on restaurants!  It seems like I’ve been out millions of times since I went to farm:table.  So I guess I better hop to it, eh?

Steve and I slept in late one Sunday and I suggested we go out for some breakfast to get our strength up.  I knew Steve wanted to go to Perfect Hamburger, we’d thought about going another time but had not been brave enough.  I was still a little skeeved out by the thought of actually eating there, so I said “why don’t we walk by Dottie’s, see how the line is, and if it’s too crazy we’ll do Perfect Hamburger.”  I don’t know how I could have thought that that plan might work out in my favor.  Of course the line at Dottie’s was off the fucking hook.  I am a little concerned about having to eat at Dottie’s, anyone have any suggestions about their off time?  I will go crazy if I have to wait on that line.  So, back to the story, we made our way to Original Perfect Hamburger.

The outside was scary as ever.  They have the weird raw meat looking hamburger photos in the windows and the promise of Chinese AND American food.  I have found that to never be a good combo outside of Chinatown.  When we went inside things were a bit better.  At first…

This place is full of retro kitsch goodness.  If we were rating restaurants on decor alone, Perfect Hamburger would be my new favorite spot.  Everything in there looks to be about a million years old.   I doubt much has changed since the grand opening, save for the addition of the paper plates.  I was cheered considerably by the atmosphere, and by the menu.

Shit was cheap.  And you could get pancakes with a scoop of ice cream!  Insanity.  I decided ice cream was a little too much for my first meal of the day, but I definitely wanted pancakes.  I ordered two with scrambled eggs and sausage.  The waiter/owner asked if I wanted cheese on my eggs.  What?!?  I don’t think I’ve ever been offered gratis cheese on my scrambled eggs in a restaurant.  Of course I wanted cheese!  Steve ordered a mushroom cheeseburger and a strawberry milkshake.  I was super stoked and my feelings about this meal had shifted.  I was encouraged and optimistic.  Steve’s milkshake came;

More positivity.  It was rich and sweet but not overly syrupy sweet like a McDonald’s milkshake.  This was a bona fide ice cream milk shake.  Very creamy with bits of strawberry flesh and seeds.  I was a little weirded out that it came in one of those plastic cups with the pebbly texture, but whatever.  We watched the wife/co-owner work the griddle and soon enough Steve’s burger arrived.

It looked promising.  Lots of vibrant veggies, nicely toasted bun.  Smallish patty but it smelled good.  Then came my pancakes.

Looks pretty right?  So everything looks good, let’s get down to the nitty gritty:  how’s it taste?

Eh.  It was all right.  My pancakes weren’t too heavy and were cooked correctly, no wet spots, no spots where the batter wasn’t mixed well enough.  They were served with butter instead of margarine, which is always appreciated.  I had to ask for syrup 2 or 3 times and they seemed to have only one bottle, which seemed weird for a spot that devotes a lot of its menu to breakfast.  So the pancakes were fine, but after eating about half of my first one I found myself wishing I had ordered hashbrowns instead.  My eggs with cheese were a real bust, they were a sort of mini American cheese omelet, but the cheese was oddly watery and very cheap tasting.  The sausage was perfectly standard cheap diner sausage.  Satisfying.  Steve’s burger was pretty standard as well.  Nothing to write home about, but not a total loss either.  The worst thing about Perfect Hamburger, and why I wouldn’t want to return, is the service.  Usually I am really forgiving when it comes to service issues at restaurants; I’m not a demanding diner and I don’t want to browbeat someone because my food’s not letter perfect, but Perfect Hamburger was a little too much for me.  There was the aforementioned syrup issue, and I had the same issue trying to get milk for my coffee (which, by the way, was some of the worst coffee I’ve ever had, beaten probably only by the gas station coffee I got in Santa Cruz).  When the waitress/wife/co-owner brought me my mug she asked if I needed cream, I answered yes and she nodded and walked away.  She passed by our table a couple times, taking the orders from the table behind us, but I never got my cream.  I had to ask twice more.  I can forgive even these sorts of things, but the proprietors have to be nice, or at least benign.  The people here were pretty offputting, very gruff, obviously disinterested in their customers, upselling…when you ask for water they ask if you want bottled water, which is really strange in a place like this.  It took me a second to piece together that they are probably usually frequented by tourists from the many hotels nearby and that’s why they offer the bottled stuff, but I was taken aback.  It kind of takes away from what I’m looking for in a greasy spoon.

So, unless unstoppable forces compel me, I will not be going back to Original Perfect Hamburger.  No, the Chinese food portion of the menu does not entice me.

At least it was cheap.

Original Perfect Hamburger

601 Geary

Their Yelp Page

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