Rosamunde Sausage Grill
545 Haight Street, San Francisco CA 94117 (map); 415-437-6851; rosamundesausagegrill.com
Cooking Method: Grilled
Short Order: A fat patty that stays juicy even as it develops a healthy char
Want Fries with That? They don't serve them, but the mustard-based potato salad does the trick
Price: burger, $6; potato salad, $3.25
Notes: Available only on Tuesdays at lunch
Given the sorts of places I've covered for AHT recently, I've become accustomed to waiters who relish the opportunity to hold forth on the provenance of their ingredients. So it was a little jarring to ask the pony-tailed fellow behind the counter at Rosamunde Sausage Grill what kind of meat they use in their burger only to have him respond with a single word and just a hint of disdain, "Beef!"
Rosamunde simply isn't that kind of place. And that's a-okay by most of the folks that frequent this spot. Rosamunde serves some fine sausages out of a space that's more booth than restaurant. If seating is limited, they'll let you eat your food next door at Toronado Pub, where you can sample from a vast catalogue of beers while you eat. Most days, you can choose amongst 12 or so sausages, but on Tuesdays—and Tuesdays only—Rosamunde adds a cheeseburger to its menu.
Please ignore the slightly gruff staff, the lack of seating, and the limited availability. You want to try this burger.
You immediately notice the heft of Rosamunde's burger when you lift it out of its nest of wax paper. A half-pound patty this thick can sit on the grill for a little while and still keep some pink at the center, and so even as its juice still runs, the Rosamunde burger comes with a healthy dose of char. With that prominent grilled flavor, this patty tastes like the burger you wish would come off your neighbor's backyard barbecue on a Sunday afternoon.
I'd like Rosamunde to add just a touch of salt to their patty, but I'm otherwise pretty pleased with their just-the-basics approach to burger couture. This burgers gets lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, ketchup, and a melted slice of cheddar. They throw in some shreds of the grilled onions that they typically use to top their sausages.
The bun at Rosamunde is a slightly glossy affair that the baker appears to have envisioned as an onion roll, but only the barest fragments of onion have stuck around. I'd have asked them to put it onto the grill in closer proximity to when they actually served it—at this recent visit, mine came out slightly cold. But, hey, it's not that kind of place. Besides, they do enough volume that I'm in favor of anything they need to do to efficiently get my burger off the grill and to my table next door at Toronado. I'm much better off if I get some food into my system before I finish my second beer.
They don't serve fries at Rosamunde. Instead, you can snag a bag of potato chips off the rack on the wall. But if you're willing to settle for unfried potatoes, I suggest their potato salad. Mustard-based, with little bits of bacon hiding in the mixture, it rounds out the meal quite well.
These days in San Francisco, cheffy restaurants have taken such a liking to the hamburger that it sometimes feels like an upscale food. But if it's Tuesday, skip the tablecloth and the discourse on cattle pasturing practices and go to Rosamunde for some plain old beef.