Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trueburger in Oakland

Forget the growing rivalry between Five Guys and In-N-Out for best burger. Trueburger near Oakland’s Uptown district tops them both. Opened earlier this year by two former Baywolf sous chefs, Trueburger consistently delivers simple but delicious food.

The burgers are simple: ground on-site daily, cooked medium and served on a custom-made toasted egg bun with lettuce, tomato and garlic mayo. That’s the basic Trueburger ($4.95) that can be built upon with cheese ($5.45) and bacon ($6.45), or double-up the beef and cheese ($7.95). For vegetarians, there are mushroom burgers ($6.45) and salads ($6.75). The menu also includes hot dogs, but it would be a shame to miss the namesake Trueburger.

I don’t know what makes the burgers so great, whether it’s the perfectly seasoned and grilled patties or the delicious but not too garlicky mayo sauce, but Trueburger manages to turn something familiar into something I would look forward to eating every day.

While the burgers are a must, the fries ($2.95) are an afterthought. Skinny and golden to a crisp, the fries are OK but remind me of frozen Ore-Idas. The hand-spun milk shakes ($4.95) are a better complement. Made from either vanilla or chocolate ice cream, the shakes are thick, rich and creamy.

The simplicity of the food carries over into the restaurant. With a simple poster sign hanging out front and a sandwich board on the sidewalk, the small, 30-seater place is easy to miss across from the grandeur of the Cathedral of Christ the Light.

Getting to the basics, Trueburger also relies on DIY customers as wait staff. Place orders at the register, grab your own napkins, condiments and utensils, find a seat and wait for your name to be called. Signs also ask you to bus your own tables, so finding a clean table can be a pain when there’s a rush.

For now, Trueburger is open for lunch Monday through Saturday, and, to my disappointment, for dinner only Thursday through Saturday.


146 Grand Ave., Oakland
(510) 208-5678

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