Our Sunday trek to get ramen turned into a burger meal. Santouka – you fail. Barney’s, you win! Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers has been a Berkeley favorite for both burger and hipster enthusiasts alike. The first time I went in college, I didn’t really care about ‘gourmet burgers.’ Back then, McDonalds was good enough (hey, it still is, I’m just saying). But now I can definitely appreciate a well made, high quality burger.
The weird thing about this restaurant is that it doesn’t face Shattuck. If you drive down Shattuck looking for it, you’re bound to see Crepevine instead and think Barney’s no longer exists. It’s hidden behind Crepevine towards the small street between Barney’s and Andronico’s.
The inside is very no nonsense – walls covered in awards, gleaming silver counter tops, wooden tables and chairs.
We started with the famous vegetable basket, which are basically deep fried veggies – onions, zucchini, and fat mushrooms. The outside is crunchy, and the veggies taste very fresh. The mushrooms are so big and hearty it’s like eating crunchy steak. That’s how meaty they are! Another plus? The batter is thick enough so that you don’t bite into a scalding hot oily mess.
The chili cheese fries were nothing to write home about – skinny fries with bean chili and cheese that wasn’t particularly compelling.
Behold my delicious Santa Fe burger! This is a definite must – thick beef patty covered in lots of grilled jalapeno and onion, all on a soft sesame bun. The jalapenos are HOT! They leave the seeds in, and these are fresh jalapenos, not pickled ones. I couldn’t stop marvelling how spicy and drool worthy my burger was. So far one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.
Kyung’s burger was not quite as oozingly greasy (darn!) but was very tasty – he had the blackened burger, which had a very robustly spiced meat patty that had a slight kick to it. It was covered in cajun seasoning and made the patty look red.
So far in burger month, Barney’s is far and away the winner.
Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers
1600 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94709