Photo Credit: Courtesy Marlowe
Marlowe Burger opens today as a pop-up at 330 Townsend Street, the space formerly occupied by the beloved Marlowe, in San Francisco’s SoMa—making this the perfect time for the James Beard nominated Executive Chef Jennifer Puccio to share her burger tips with us. Puccio creates all of the menus for the Big Night Restaurant Group, which also includes Marlowe, Park Tavern and The Cavalier—all haute spots where you can find the delicious Marlowe burger. How good is her burger? Well, consider that last month we named it to our top five burgers in San Francisco list.
While there are more than burgers on the Marlowe Burger menu—you’ll also find a scrumptious Fried Chicken Sandwich, Brussels Sprouts Chips, Deviled Eggs, Chicken Nuggets, Fries and mouth-watering desserts from Emily Luchetti—you can best believe that most folks streaming through the doors, especially before and after at SF Giants game, will order the burger. Hours are Monday 11 a,m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Now for Puccio’s burger tips.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Marlowe
HL: Why is having a blend so important to a burger patty? Why did you decide to use lamb?
JP: The blend of the burger meat allows you to create different flavor profiles based on what’s important to a specific sandwich. For the Marlowe burger, I didn’t want it to be an obscenely large, gut-busting affair, and chose to keep the patty at a reasonable 6 oz. We add ground lamb to imbue a subtle, rich earthiness to the flavor profile. The addition of the lamb also goes particularly well with the char from our grill and ensures that—even with all the bold flavors on the sandwich—the flavor of the meat shines through. I prefer a burger with a higher fat content, both for the flavor and juiciness, and a finer grind, which keeps the meat tender regardless of the requested temperature and facilitates even cooking of the patty.
HL: What do you suggest for a sauce?
JP: Mayonnaise/aioli is ALWAYS a great addition to your burger. If you apply the aioli to both sides of the toasted bun it will act as a moisture barrier—and keep the bread from getting soggy with the burger juices. Don’t particularly like the flavor of mayonnaise? Add another condiment to it such as ketchup or mustard. Chopped herbs, onions and spices are also great additions.
HL: What makes the spiciness of horseradish aioli a better-suited option than regular mustard?
JP: As opposed to just using mustard, the horseradish aioli is able to serve a number of purposes on the burger. The spicy, acidic horseradish helps to amplify the flavor of the beef blend, and the sweet caramelized onions, while the creaminess of the aioli acts as a textural bridge between the crunchy bacon, and the crisp watery gem lettuce. The aioli also acts as a moisture barrier between the toasted bun and the juices released from the burger.
HL: Why is a properly toasted bun so important?
JP: A crispy bun provides texture contrast, helps to keep the burger juices from breaking down the bread, as well as providing a great platform for the condiments. A great way to add another layer of flavor to your burger is by using a flavored fat to toast the bun. The most basic way to do this would be to toast the bun in the same pan you cooked your burger in. Remove the burger to a plate when it is cooked to your liking and allow it to rest. Leave the heat on and allow the juices to evaporate and caramelize, leaving the burger fat in the pan, rub your buns in the fat and allow to cook until golden brown. If you are putting bacon on your burger, use the bacon fat to toast your bun; if you like to use garlic in your burger patty, toast the bun with garlic oil, etc.
There you have it folks. You too can cook a Marlowe burger. And if you can’t, or don’t want to, well you know where to go to get the perfect one.
Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter