We here at SFist are raising the stakes for food porn by infusing our food photos with unadulterated city porn. Gratuitously indulgent food items, photographed (and eaten) in front of iconic San Francisco backdrops. Today's item leans a bit more on the porny side: A ground-to-order hamburger with truffle bacon aioli at Jake's on Market, within spitting distance of Beck's Motor Lodge.
Although Jake's on Market is a mere five days old, chef Erik Hopfinger, once named a Chronicle Rising Star, is already well-known for his turn on Top Chef and the time he put in at a range of well-respected Bay Area dining establishments like Spoon, Circa, Long Bar and others. Beck's Motor Lodge, on the other hand, is known as a skeezy cruising spot where men go to anonymously bone. Both have a kind of classic Americana vibe about them — although the spotless interior at Jake's is more like a thoroughly modern diner, whereas we suspect things haven't actually changed at Beck's since the mid-century motor lodge Golden Era.
Anyhow, we weren't strolling around Upper Market looking for a room or on-demand companionship, we were only in this for the ground-to-order hamburgers we had heard so much about. As it should be with a sandwich in the $10-plus range, Hopfinger hits all the burger buzzwords with local, grass-fed, angus beef from Marin Sun Farms (there's also a ground turkey burger for those averse to cow). There aren't any specialty burgers to choose from — it's a DIY affair here — so we topped our beef with smoked gouda and truffle bacon aioli because "truffle" and "bacon" are still two things that leap out at people when they pop up on a menu. We, as a town full of sophisticated palates, still can't resist the lure of crispy pork products or exotic fungi, it seems.
Despite the frustrating laundry list of adjectives needed to set one sandwich apart in a town full of amazing burgers, the patty was spot-on: flavorful and a little peppery without being dry or overly dense. On the other hand, half of the patty did decide to break off and plop right out of the bun midway through the meal, which we suspect is an unfortunate side effect of all that grinding. (And, to be fair, the bun was greased up pretty good with the aforementioned aioli.)
Hopfinger & Co. do give good bread though: said bun is a light, house-made brioche that held up well to the truffle mayo and a healthy (not actually healthy, probably) amount of drippings it soaked up during our little burger romp.
Pro-tip: be sure to sit at one of the high tops facing Market Street on the bar side. Although you can't enjoy a cigarette inside of Jake's obviously, you can always finish your carafe of on-tap Pinot Noir while watching the male patrons of the Motor Lodge step out on to the deck for a post-coital smoke. Or you know, just enjoy the clang of the F-Market as it rolls by.
Previously: A Breakfast Sandwich At The Ferry Plaza