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Seasons Burger Lounge
A Luxury Patty With a Drink
by Lily Ko on Jul 01, 2010
With the recently launched Burger Lounge, a new cocktail menu, and new pastry chef, Jeffrey Wurtz, Seasons is in for a change.
Located on the fifth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel, Seasons is an unpretentious luxury restaurant led by Executive Chef Mark Richardson. The quaint space typically caters to a mix of tourists and a savvy after-work business crowd. Doesn't really sound like your scene? The new Burger Lounge offers a welcome alternative to the full restaurant menu.
Every Sunday and Monday, from 6pm to 10pm, Chef Richardson offers five of his top burgers with fries and a cocktail, beer or wine pairing for $20. The burger selection includes the Sirloin Burger, the Ahi Tuna Burger, the Steakhouse Burger, the B.L.T. Burger, and the Duck Fat Burger. The menu displays each choice with the appropriate drink pairing for you to choose. Although not stated, all of the burgers can be substituted for vegetarian or turkey patties (it is San Francisco, after all).
The char-grilled Sirloin Burger is your classic burger, and a solid foundation for the rest. Chef Richardson says the Sirloin burger and its beer pairing is his favorite combination.
The Ahi Tuna Burger is a nice, lighter choice, with a seared sushi-grade tuna patty and crisp, tasty slaw. The Steakhouse is your quintessential steakhouse delight with blue cheese, fried shallots and a dark, thick, house-made steak sauce.
If those burgers weren't tantalizing enough, the B.L.T. features thick slabs of 48-hour braised, mouth-watering pork belly. But another house favorite is the infamous Duck Fat Burger.
“We chefs love duck fat,” says Richardson, who came up with the burger a few years ago while experimenting in Boston. The duck fat is mixed into the raw beef, adding a subtle flavor while keeping the burger moist, even when cooked to well done.
Despite the use of high-quality ingredients in the high-end setting, Richardson worked to keep the price point for the meal affordable.
“At the end of the day it's a burger,” Richardson says. “I don't think we should charge $30 for a burger. The ingredients we use are very high quality, but it's still comfort food.”
Head Bartender Sierra Zimei crafted five cocktails to enhance the distinct flavors of each burger. The “Sweet Heat”, a spicy lemon drop with a cayenne pepper rim, was designed with the Duck Fat Burger in mind. The citrus balances the fatty meat, while enhancing the flavor of the oozing white cheddar.
Zimei's favorite pairing is the B.L.T. Burger with the “Ginger In A Pear Tree” cocktail. Again, the light pear flavor balances the fat, and the ginger adds a bit of kick. Along with her pairings for the Burger Lounge menu, Zimei's latest creations include: Berry Bitter, Southern Gent, Ginger's Island, and Xoxo, a sexy dessert cocktail.
Off the menu, she is known for a few specialty concoctions. Try the “English Breakfast of Champions”, comprised of Johnnie Walker Black, English breakfast tea, honey syrup, and egg whites. The rim of this quirky cocktail is dusted with candied bacon, sugar and salt, which plays nicely off the smoke and heat from the whiskey.
And let's not forget dessert. The Four Seasons snagged Pastry Chef Jeffery Wurtz from his position as pastry sous chef at Adour Alain Ducasse in New York. Before that, he worked under renowned Chef Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas.
Classically trained in Paris, Wurtz is overhauling the dessert menu to create something, “fresh, accessible and elegant,” at Seasons.
“I didn't come here with a mission statement,” he says. “I just want to make great desserts that people love.”
Wurtz plans to launch a new dessert menu each season, and says he is excited to feature short-window luxuries such as rhubarb and cherries.
“Back east we would fly in fruit from California so it's nice to have it right here,” Wurtz says. “You can definitely see the difference in just how high quality the fruit is out here.”
Wurtz's standout dessert is the Passion Fruit Vacherin, a beautifully sculpted meringue crust over a light sorbet and flavor-packed passion fruit cream. He recommends this for dessert to cleanse the palette after his favorite, the Duck Fat Burger with beer pairing.
After biting into affordable luxury at the Burger Lounge, you might as well stay for dessert.
Every Sunday and Monday from 6pm to 10pm, $20
Reservations necessary? No
by Lily Ko on Jul 01, 2010
Duck Fat Burger. Photo Credit: Lily Ko
Executive Chef Mark Richardson. Photo Credit: Lily Ko
English Breakfast of Champions. Photo Credit: Lily Ko