With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, you can count on the shopping malls to start filling up with people any day now. Shopping can be a full contact sport that at times can be rather stressful. After hours of crowds and running from one store to another, you’re certain to build up a mean appetite. The only problem is that you’re in a mall and most mall food is equivalent to what you might expect to get in prison when you’re serving five to ten for breaking and entering. But, if you’re at the Westfield mall in San Francisco, they take their food court and restaurants seriously and you have a multitude of culinary options at your fingertips – including a steakburger from Lark Creek Steak.
When I was a teenage mallrat, the food at the malls near my house usually consisted of a Chinese buffet place, a McDonald’s, gross pizza and Hot Dog on a Stick. The Hot Dog on a Stick was the best thing going, especially since they usually had good looking girls working there that wore the colorful striped shirts with shorts and those tall domed hats. You could always count on seeing a group of boys with raging hormones hanging out at the tables closest to that place. While that was always fun, the food was mediocre at best. I am pleased that the Westfield mall is featuring good eats at their food court. You can get everything from crepes to Thai and if you don’t want a fast food type experience, there are a handful of really nice sit-down restaurants.
Lark Creek Steak is one of the nicer places at the mall and is the perfect place to fill a huge appetite. Probably not the best place for a vegetarian, but if meat is your thing, you’ll be right at home. At the dimly lit and elegant restaurant, steaks are prominent on the menu but I stopped by Lark Creek to try out their “Steakburger”. The Steakburger is just how it sounds – steak that is ground into a burger. I’m not talking cheap cuts of steak either. Lark Creek house grinds the beef for their burgers every day using a mixture of rib eye, New York and filet. The meat is ground twice before it is hand formed into patties by the same person every single day ever since they have been open. I was lucky enough to watch her in action as she quickly smashed half pound balls of ground meat into perfectly shaped patties with lightning speed.
I like a good steak so I was excited to dig into what could be the best of both worlds – steaks and burgers. There are four burgers to choose from, a basic cheeseburger, a black truffle burger with brie, a mushroom burger with Swiss and a Cowboy burger. I liked the sound of the Cowboy Steakburger ($15.95 includes house cut fries), an eight ounce burger that is grilled over a wood fire and topped with sharp cheddar, bacon, barbecue sauce and crispy onions.
I watched from the long tall marble counter that overlooks an open kitchen as a fresh patty was placed on the grill over glowing embers and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Flames licked at the cooking beef and midway through the cooking process, the burger was flipped and four strips of bacon were placed next to it on the grill. The cheese was placed on top of the patty and was allowed time to fuse itself to the patty before the bacon was carefully placed on top.
The presentation was nice, with an explosion of crispy onions on top making it impossible to keep the top bun in place. It was a very pretty burger. As much as I wanted to eat all of those onions, my body was telling me not to and in the end I took of most of them, leaving a few for taste and hoping that I wouldn’t regret it. I cut the burger in half to reveal a perfectly cooked center with a good amount of juice.
Biting into the Steakburger was like biting into an extremely tender steak that just crumbles in your mouth. Good solid beef flavor was complimented by a small amount of the sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, the sharp melted cheese and perfectly crisp smoky bacon. I even got a little bit of the onion in a few bites – an added bonus. The lightly toasted and somewhat flaky bakery style bun held itself together very well and had a hint of buttery goodness.
The Steakburger at Lark Creek didn’t disappoint. A good fat content made for a juicy burger and the cuts of meat used were full of flavor. The meat is so fresh that it probably would have been good with just cheese and a bun. Hell, I think you could have even had without the cheese and it would be very enjoyable if you are a beef lover. The price, well, yeah. It’s a little steep but it is a good sized burger made with top shelf ingredients that comes with a healthy side of house made fries. For what you get plus the environment, I think it is a fair exchange. Set aside a few bucks before the shopping frenzy begins so you can treat yourself to a good burger to break up a day and refuel before jumping back into the shopping madness.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5
Lark Creek Steak
845 Market Street
Inside the Westfield Mall, Fourth Floor
San Francisco, California 94103
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:30AM – 9:00PM
Friday – Saturday – 11:30AM – 9:30PM