Restaurant Review: 4505 Burgers and BBQ


4505 Burgers and BBQ 3-Meat Platter

4505 Burgers and BBQ 3-Meat Platter

4505 Burgers and BBQ opened recently along the Divisadero corridor in San Francisco and has quickly become a popular destination.  4505 Meats was established by Ryan and Cesalee Farr as an outgrowth of their interest in whole animal butchery.  They started teaching butchery classes and selling chicharrones.  Now 4505 Meats is establishing itself as a mini-empire in San Francisco, with a butcher store in the Mission selling meats and prepared foods and stands at the Ferry Market Terminal and various local food events like the Eat Real Fest in Oakland, where they sell magnificent sandwiches like “The Fat Bastard.”  I had made a pilgrimage last year to Austin, TX to visit Texas barbecue legends like Frankin Barbecue and John Mueller Meat Co., so I was excited to see how local meat experts 4505 stacked up.

The barbecue menu at 4505 Burgers and BBQ is traditional, with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, homemade sausage (hot or mild), and pork ribs.  I tried a 3-meat sampler platter with their brisket, pulled pork, and hot sausage.  The pulled pork was excellent, moist, and flavorful.  The sausage had snap and a good amount of heat.  The brisket was a lean cut and was very good with a slightly peppery bark.  The brisket did not quite reach the luscious heights of Franklin Barbecue, but was still very well done.  The “sweet and thick” barbecue sauce was really good.

The sides were definitely well thought-out and elevated.  I had the Frankaroni, deep-fried mac and cheese and 4505 hot dogs – delicious.  Well done creamy, mild cole slaw.  Excellent pickles and pickled onions to cut the richness of the meat.  Pillowy soft Parker rolls, slightly toasted and basted with butter.  This is a great barbecue platter!

On another visit, I had the smoked rib plate and thought the smoky flavor and barbecue char on the ribs was simply outstanding.  I have come back for the smoked rib plate, which is my favorite item on the menu.  I also tried the posole, a Mexican stew of meat and hominy garnished with cabbage, cilantro, radish, and lime that is is one of the more unusual options for a BBQ side dish.  This was also outstanding; there was so much flavor in this posole since they use all of the bits and pieces from the various barbecue meats.

On the sandwich side of the menu, they offer what they modestly call the “Best Damn Cheeseburger.”  It’s a very good burger, with melted cheese, lettuce, and onion, on a nicely toasted seeded bun.  Bacon and egg can be added on as extras.  They cure their own bacon, and I am pretty sure they also grind the meat for their burgers.  I had a side of spicy fries topped with chimchurri and lemon parsley aioli, which were good.  Hamburgers are offered at their late night window until 11pm on the weekends (there are several bars as well as The Independent concert venue in the neighborhood).

There is an extensive selection of beers on tap as well as non-alcoholic drinks.  The building is dominated by the open kitchen, which includes the barbecue smoker.  There are about six counter seats available inside, and a fenced off area with picnic tables outside.  Many people eat there, but a lot of people get their orders to go, “Pig in or Pig out” as the sign outside says.  4505 Burgers and BBQ is located on Divisadero in the Western Addition neighborhood of San Francisco, a block away from The Mill.  Go to both places for a double whammy of great food.  Highly recommended.

4505 Burgers and BBQ, 705 Divisadero, San Francisco

Link to 4505 Meats site here, and 4505 Burgers and BBQ site here.

4505 Burgers & BBQ on Urbanspoon

 

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Restaurant Review: Namu Gaji


Namu Gaji is a “New Korean” restaurant opened in 2012 by three brothers in a prime location in the Mission on the corner of 18th and Dolores in San Francisco. On the menu are Korean as well as Japanese-inspired dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, including from the owners’ local farm.  Small plates and larger plates are served family style.

Ramyun – homemade ramen noodles, 4505 Meats hot dog slices, kimchee, bean sprouts, and a panko-crusted soft egg in a delicious, hearty, spicy red broth.  My favorite dish on the menu.  There are 24 orders available per night.

Korean Fried Chicken (kfc on the menu)- super crunchy fried chicken coated in a sticky sweet, spicy red pepper sauce, served with a dashi gravy and tart pickled daikon and a cabbage slaw.  The flavor of the chicken coating was delicious, and the daikon was a great side to go with the chicken.  1/2 chicken for $35

Stone Pot – Namu Gaji’s take on bibimbap with rice crisped in the stone pot serving vessel, various vegetables, a fried egg, optional steak, and gochujang (a sweet, spicy red pepper sauce).  This was good, but not particularly special.  $16 (+ $5 for steak), so definitely pricy for bibimbap.

Two appetizers were excellent:

Dumpling – shiitake mushroom dumplings in a flavorful, earthy broth.

Octopus – tender chunks of octopus, pumpkin, in a spicy gochujang sauce.

One dish on the menu I wanted to try was the Bo Ssam – pork shoulder with oysters and other accompaniements.  It is $100 and serves 5 – 8 people, and there are two available per night.

Dessert – there were rotating flavors of shaved ice available.  I had the yuzu shaved ice, with candied kumquats and graham cracker crumble.  It was delicious and refreshing after a heavy meal, but one of my dinner companions said something to the effect of, only in San Francisco is a bowl of ice $8.

I can’t help but compare the menu to Momofuku in New York, which also sells Korean Fried Chicken, Bo Ssam, and, of course, ramen.  There is definitely a similar philosophy of using Korean and other Asian dishes as a starting point for more modern or innovative versions, but the owners of Namu Gaji have their own unique vision.

Service is very friendly.  They were very busy on both Sunday and Tuesday nights.  Reservations can be made online through UrbanSpoon.  The restaurant space is warm and inviting.  There is an open kitchen, a long communal table, and scattered small tables and seating along the window and kitchen.  The seats were backless stools, which were a little uncomfortable, but probably necessary given the small footprint of the restaurant.  Definitely recommended.

Link to Namu Gaji restaurant website here.

 

Eat Real Fest Oakland


The Eat Real Fest is an annual food festival held at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA, on the waterfront in the East Bay near the container port of Oakland.  The festival showcased many of the great food purveyors in the East Bay and the whole Bay Area.  There were prepared food stands and trucks, and everything was limited to $5 or less.  One of the highlights was The Whole Beast, which had a butchering demonstration on perfectly roasted whole lamb and sold lamb gyros and meatballs.  I tried their great lamb poutine, thick-cut seasoned fries topped with a rich gravy with lamb cheeks and cheese curds.  Whole animal butchery was also on display at the Chop Bar, which offered delicious barbecue pork and cornbread.  One of my favorites, 4505 Meats, had a ridiculously good sandwich called The Fat Bastard, which was a buttery toasted English muffin, honey mustard ranch, chicharrones, pickled jalepenos, market greens, melted aged Gruyere, juicy pork and beer sausage, and house made sauerkraut, all on one sandwich!

It was fun to see all of the local start-ups at the marketplace: there were local chocolates, tempeh, sauerkraut, southeast Asian jerky, pastas, jams, cheese, and baked goods.  Starter Bakery in Oakland had Kouign Amann, a flaky, sticky, buttery pastry with different fillings such as cherry pistachio, which sold out, necessitating a second afternoon delivery that many waited for.  I also really liked the cool t-shirt designs representing the 510 from loakal.

There were classes and demonstrations on pickling, butchering, and other topics that really fit in with the DIY culture emphasized by the Eat Real Fest.  Sour Flour had several bread-making demonstrations.  I went to the bread starter class, where they taught participants how to feed a sourdough starter.  I got a sample and can’t wait to try it to make sourdough bread at home (watch for a future post).  We’re lucky in the Bay Area to have great food events like SF Street Food and Eat Real.

San Francisco Street Food Festival 2011 Pictures


Perfect day and delicious food at the 3rd annual San Francisco Street Food Festival to benefit La Cocina.

4505 Meats: Cheeseburger – perfectly seasoned meat on a brioche bun

Commonwealth: Grilled Lamb Cheeks and Watermelon Gazpacho

Chiefo’s Kitchen: Scotch Egg – hard-boiled egg, covered in spicy sausage, batter, deep-fried

Flour + Water: Porchetta sandwich – pork with spicy pork sausage, sweet onion jam on a great roll, watermelon and mint limeade

Maite Catering: Salpicon – refreshing fruit drink

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