San Diego boasts a lot of activities, restaurants, relaxed vibes and an overall cleanliness that is foreign to Los Angeles. While it is not fair to compare the two cities, since both offer so much, San Diego is a nice break from Los Angeles. A miniature vacation. There are a plethora of Mexican restaurants (too many places to try) but, while its proximity to our Southern border vaunts the finest (arguably the best) eats in the state, you can find some great American staples too. Spread around San Diego County, there are some acclaimed burger establishments like Hodad’s, Boomerang’s, O Brother’s Burgers and finally the Burger Lounge; the last, San Diego’s answer to the gourmet burger challenge that appears in the form of a small and independent chain.

I spent the past weekend in San Diego, with a close friend (circa 2nd grade), vacationing in the heart of Charger/Padre land. The weekend was spent indulging, eating mostly Mexican foods from trucks to brick and mortar establishments. However, we did kick things off with a ceremonially burger to usher in my time in San Diego and honor my scheduled burger Fridays. I was given a choice of places I wished to dine for the evening and I settled on Burger Lounge.

Located in Little Italy (one of a few), the restaurant keeps the décor minimal with an elegant and trendy sheen, highlighting the place with cement flooring and modern furnishings; the lounge is akin to a loft in downtown (how appropriate).
The menu was as bare as the place was modern, burgers, chicken tenders, salads, and…cupcakes. We ordered a grilled turkey burger and a grilled lounge burger with side orders of fries and onion rings between the two of us.

The burgers made the table quickly—about seven minutes—served on long rectangular plates with the fries and rings overflowing from little take-out boxes with lids popped like collars. The burger was evenly proportioned with the lounge bun framing the misshapen and excellently charred patty with a large slice of tomato and a big crisp leaf of lettuce. A very nice presentation, but I have seen beauty give way to pure drek, so I knew to downplay my excitement.

Upon first bite, my teeth cut through the lounge bun and sank into the crisp exterior of the grass fed beef which was excellently seasoned and had the best texture I have had in a burger in a long time. The thousand islands topping on the burger was sweet and reminded me of a better version of In-n-Out. The raw white onion provided the sulfur kick that was needed to balance the flavors. Brandon’s (my buddy) turkey burger was the best-seasoned version of a turkey patty that has ever crossed my path.

My introduction to one of the better burger joints in San Diego was surprisingly excellent. I have had so many experiences with highly touted burgers in many a city and they often disappoint. This burger was superb…nine stars out of ten. The ultimate reason for the great score was the price to quality ratio were in direct correlation, meaning that it was a value packed deal for the eight dollars I spent. The texture was divine and the presentation was so clean, it all gave the impression I was paying two and a half times the price at one of my favorite eateries in Los Angeles—25˚. I reserved the perfect score, wanting to reign in my enthusiasm, and grade the burger sans influence of exterior circumstances (not having a good burger experience for about two months and hanging out with my best bud) weighing in on my critical faculties, solely basing the score on the exceptional, outstanding and utterly amazing burger.