I decided to give myself a “Pamper Me” day today. I’ve been so exhausted lately between work, the kids and general life that I really needed some time for me. So in addition to a facial, massage, and a hair cut, I went and checked out Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers for lunch with Pdho. It’s a relatively new place that opened not too far from home, and knowing how much Pdho loves pork belly, I figured he would want to check it out.
The restaurant is a pretty nice place considering the somewhat desolate location in the western part of SOMA. The menu is pretty simple. After deciding on your choice of patty between pork belly, chicken, and veggie, you can decide on a style of burger. There are about 15 different styles, but I think they only offer a handful of them on a rotating basis each day. Each burger costs $6.75, but you can get 2 for $12 which really isn’t a bad deal (Just listen to me and you realize how tainted I’ve become by living in one of the most expensive cities in the world.)
We opted for the Truck Stop Pork Belly Burger which was served with secret sauce, white American cheese, fried onions, and iceberg lettuce. This was definitely a more traditional take and reminded me a lot of an In-n-Out burger only with pork instead of beef. Although the picture probably doesn’t do the burger justice, it really was delicious! The pork belly patty was fantastic. It was a richer, more interesting take on a burger and the secret sauce and grilled onions made it even tastier.
The Banh, Baby, Banh Pork Belly Burger is served with Vietnamese caramel sauce, chopped hardboiled eggs, sliced jalapeños, and cilantro leaves. In spite of the name, I wouldn’t go in with the expectations that it tastes anything like a Vietnamese sandwich because it doesn’t have the pickled vegetables which I think is really what distinguishes Vietnamese sandwiches from other bready brethren. It was probably much more unique than the Truck Stop burger though because of the caramelized pork flavor which I really think works well. The cilantro taste is quite notable though, so unless you’re a fan of cilantro, I wouldn’t recommend it.
The French fries were okay, but if you want to order some sides, I would go with the Crispy Onions. They were thin, lightly battered and very flavorful.
All in all, I really enjoyed the food here, and knowing that this place stays open until 9pm nightly is fantastic, because I think it would be great for a quick meal or even better for take out.
Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers
1550 Howard St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
PAFO Ratings for Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers:
Ambiance 2½ stars
Food 4 stars
Overall rating 3½ stars