I had heard from a friend that Kronnerburger was the best burger in the Bay Area and since I had a meeting in Oakland that day, I decided to test his strong statement. My friend Dave, who is also constantly searching for the best burger, and his family joined me for lunch.
He had a friend-in-common with the Chef, so when we said hi to Chris Kronner (hence the restaurant’s name), he offered to cook for us and send out his top hits. The chef previously worked at Bar Tartine and, after a quick detour to LA, came back to San Francisco with a burger pop-up. It worked so well that he decided to set roots in Oakland.
The restaurant is bright and lovely and not your typical burger joint. They have a full menu, even vegan options, including salads and creative cocktails (we didn’t dare partake during lunch as I still had some meetings that day).
More casual than a sit down place, you still order at the cashier and they deliver the food when ready to your table.
What we ate:
Wedge salad, point reyes blue, bacon, cherry tomato, fine herbs (don’t tell Stewart!): I don’t usually order wedge salads as I prefer darker greens and less creamy dressings–if I am going to have a salad, I don’t want it to have the same calories as a burger. This rendition was a crisp, salty, tasty one with really crunchy bacon bits and the dressing was not overly heavy.
Tomato salad, with eggplant at crumbled feta cheese: amazing tomatoes, of all colors shapes and varieties that were so tasty I almost forgot there were eggplant pieces laying around (to be fair, it’s a newly acquired taste but I enjoy them now). The cheese on top added richness but the tomatoes were so superb that nothing else was needed -so delicious.
Air dried beef, jimmy nardello peppers, rau ram and toasted almonds with garlic dressing: the moment the chef mentioned rau ram I got excited (just kidding, I had no clue what it meant and had to look it up – a.k.a., Vietnamese coriander). This dish was not on the menu that day, but Dave and I discussed how it should be. The dried beef was thinly sliced and tossed in a light and fragrant dressing with some toasted almonds for crunch, yum.
Onion rings: very crispy and not greasy at all. Fried in a rice flour batter that gives it a tempura-ish lightness. The fries were also excellent!
Kronnerburger (served RARE) with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheddar mayo and pickles: I was very sceptical of a rare burger (my friend Dani was very excited when I told her, as she always begs people to serve hers rare and they never do), but it was absolutely delicious. It was not blood dripping and raw, but had a lovely crispy quick sear on the outside and was more beef tartare like inside. I do miss actual cheese versus the mayo cheddar, but it was innovative and cool. To me, the Kronner name (signature dish) should be on the patty melt instead (see below), as that dish blew us all away.
Roasted bone marrow: served as an optional side to the burger. I am not a huge marrow fan and to me the burger was great the way it was served and didn’t need the marrow.
Patty melt: mixed milk cheese, hot mustard, onion confit: I can’t even describe how amazing this was. This sandwich needs to be patented and protected and then Chris needs to come to London and open a Kronner melt shop! It was a mix of the best grilled cheese with a mix cheese concoction, caramelized onions and perfectly toasted bread with the beef patty inside adding some perfect meatiness. So incredibly delicious! Reminded me of the grilled cheese from Borough market in London (http://kappacasein.com/ has a stall there), hiding the patty portion of the Kronnerburger inside. Really dreamy!
Key lime pie, blackberries, galangal cream: I am not a big lemon or lime dessert fan, but this pie was delicious – creamy and tangy. The blackberries paired perfectly with the lime.
Root beer soft serve ice cream: again, root beer is not my favourite flavour (I am so un-hip I know) so it didn’t impress me. The soft serve was creamy and nice. When I talked to the chef and we discussed the menu afterwards I told him how delicious the food was and said “but if I could make one comment”…and at that point, my friends wanted to hide and vanish (oh no, what will Sam say now)…we discussed the desserts and I suggested rotating the soft serve flavours and potentially adding a window for soft-serve take out. He said they would be rotating but sadly wasn’t allowed a window for health code reasons. When I was writing the review and checked the menu, the soft serve was already changed and now it is a chocolate with cajeta caramel (yum) and the air dried beef dish is on the menu (plus many new things which lead me to believe he will be changing it often).
In sum: great place for burger lovers or not as it offers salad options and even drinks. Worth the drive from San Francisco or Marin–a must go! Tasty, creative, fun!
PS: I can’t judge service since Chris Kronner delivered all the dishes himself and we never went through the regular ordering experience and I am not sure how long dishes would take normally, etc…
4063 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611, United States