Julian, (early) 30-something, and Mark, 70-something, are out to find the Mission’s best burger. If you have suggestions, leave a comment — or send an e-mail to Julian at julian.mark@missionlocal.com. You may remember Mark and Julian from the Fried Chicken Showdown series


Julian,

Did you know Trick Dog has rebranded itself as Quik Dog? It may have to do with promoting itself as more than a bar. 

If you ever went there for drinks in the old days, (before March 17), you won’t be surprised that I’m going to start with the virtuosity of their fries.

By virtuosity, I don’t mean just taste, but tone and style as well. And culture. Yes: Kulchur!!! They are the perfect potatoes for a pandemic. 

Why? Because Trick/Quik Dog doesn’t mindlessly throw a handful of frozen machine-sliced spuds into a vat of boiling fat. They carve each Kennebec into thick little ingots which get triple fried or, as they say, “thrice-cooked!” 

Crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, they hold both heat and character, outdoors as well as indoors. And, if you order for delivery, they’re still warm when they finally make contact with your tongue. 

Salted, but oversalted, estas papas son sabrosisima!!

A mouthful, I know. The only possible downside to these fries is their arrogance. They know they’re special: so damn good and so many of them, they trample over the “world famous” burger.

Like the older brother at a family dinner who must endure his younger sibling’s showing off, the 5 oz. patty sulked in the shadows. 

By no means a slacker, the blend of ground chuck and brisket came medium rare, juicy, and delicately seasoned. But maybe because it stretched to fit a long (hot dog-like?) bun, it failed to stand out.

The Quik Dog “doggie” sauce made some noise, but didn’t fundamentally change the balance. Pleasantly modest, the chili aioli (I’m guessing) gave the beef a spicy aftertaste. Something to bark about, but nothing poetic like the potatoes.

The shredded lettuce got lost, and the pickles did a decent solo; short, dill and quickly forgotten. As for the strange bun, it held up well. Probably because there was less meat and sauce to contend with.

A couple other notes. The burger was supposed to have come topped with cheddar cheese. If the cheese appeared, I didn’t notice. Also, be prepared if you order delivery. They either deliver themselves or use a service other than the usual suspects. Which means the service is fast, but expensive.

A bar seeking to survive these days must serve what in the first quarter of the twenty-first century the authorities call a “meal.” Quik Dog knows the trick: it’s still all about the drinks. 

And the fries. —MR 


Hey Mark, 

Did you play softball in college? 

You’re sure good at it. 

Yeah, we can go on and on and on about Trick Dog’s thrice-cooked fries — they rock. They are the creme de la creme of fries in this neighborhood. Perhaps they’re best in the city, or the west coast — or the whole wide world! Carve me up into thick little slabs, baby — triple fry me, salt me up, and make me tasty!

But this is a burger review, sir. And you didn’t really talk about the elephant in the room: Why is this burger called a “Quik Dog” — and why is it shaped like a hot dog? 

An email to Trick Dog (Quik Dog) owner Josh Harris was not returned when I put this question to him, so now I’m left to theorize. Is it some kind of hipster-ironic affectation? Like the spelling of “quik”? 

Or is it a touch of mischief that honors the bar’s name? One orders a hot dog and then is “tricked” into eating a hamburger. 

Either way, the burger — and, don’t be fooled, it is a burger — is the story of so much food in San Francisco: Delicious, but over before you know it. Is that why they call it the Quik Dog? 

The patty is 5 oz., ringing in just under a third of a pound. The meat was salty, juicy, charred on the outside, rare on the inside. And given its shape, I felt like I was eating some super fancy beef kofta. A hot dog, a burger, and a kebab? What a neat trick! 

The fixings — shredded lettuce, tomato, and pickles — were of the standard variety. So standard they appeared to be filched from a fold-out table in a church parking lot. But the meat, the toasted hot dog bun, and doggy sauce more than made up for it. I also added a strip of bacon for $1, and it was delightful.  

And then it was over in appetizer speed. All $13.95 of it. (Plus tax and tip.) 

I’ll be curious to see how you rank this burger next to ABV. I’ve always suspected a silent rivalry between Trick Dog and ABV. They’re consistently two of the three San Francisco bars that land on the World’s Best 100 Bars list. And while I’ve always given the edge to Trick Dog for its top-notch cocktails, there is no question ABV serves the better burger. 

It’s a grownup burger. And tricks, after all, are for kids. —JM

[clear]

Mark Rabine

Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been."

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  1. Woohooo!! I thought the Burger wars were finished but so nice to see this series coming back! Thank you Julian and Mark!

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