Last week another website did a short profile on me in which I called the burger at Green Street Tavern the best in Pasadena. A few people questioned me about that, a couple of them animatedly telling me that I was wrong. (This always makes me laugh. It's called an opinion, people; when you are profiled and you call the Carl's Jr. "Double Guacamole Bacon Burger" the best in Pasadena, I will not argue with you.) But quite a few other people were simply curious about the burger, asking what it is that makes it so good. I gave an explanation to the first couple people who asked about it, but then started saying "I tell you what, I will post a picture of it next week."
Sunday afternoon I stopped by for lunch. It was a gorgeous day and I sat at a sidewalk table on Green. There was a large party going on inside - this seems to be a fairly common occurrence these days at Green Street Tavern - but I got the table I wanted and the service was excellent as always, so I couldn't complain. I ordered the Wild Boar Burger, medium rare with fries.
It took between fifteen and twenty minutes to receive the food, a surprisingly quick time considering how busy they were. (However, I would have gladly waited twice as long; it was a beautiful afternoon and people were everywhere, a nice day for people-watching, which is always better on Green than Colorado.) I sliced my burger in half, which is somewhat of a necessity: the melted mess of manchego tends to drip out onto the plate if you attempt to eat the burger whole. I don't mind the mess, but I mind losing the cheese.
As you may have noticed in the photo, the burger was not medium-rare, it was pretty much the textbook definition of medium-well. I don't like sending things back, but I hate overcooked meat more. I took a bite to see how it was. It was still delicious. I decided to eat it. (It really was delicious. Trust me, I would have sent it back if it was not.) The cheese, greens and wild boar bacon provide a beautiful texture, and the bun is exactly what I want encasing a gourmet burger: enough resistance to hold together until the very last bite but still soft enough not to interfere with the quality of the ingredients.
The fries were once again great, and probably my favorite fries in Pasadena as well. These are freshly cut and fried twice, then served with a bit of chopped garlic and a slight dusting of truffle oil. Hell, take away Wurstkuche and these are probably my favorite fries in the entire world. I have never left one on my plate, and this time was no exception.
I have had this burger several times. This was my least favorite (because it was overcooked) but it was still fantastic. I would get this burger every single time if the "al pastor" sandwich wasn't so damn good as well. But that's a post for another time...
I decided to add this picture because the Two Guys make a good point in the comments below - pork does look different than beef when it is cooked, and pork is almost always cooked well done; very rarely is a customer given the option of medium-rare for pork. However, this picture is of the Wild Boar Burger I had a couple months ago at Green Street Tavern, again requesting it medium-rare. It's not a great picture, but you can tell that it was much juicier and pinker than the burger I had the other day. This is what I was expecting to be served again, but the burger I received was much more done. But, as I have pointed out, it was still delicious.