San Diego: The Red Door's Brunch Burger Really Satisfies

AHT: San Diego

Burger reviews in the San Diego area.


[Photographs: Erin Jackson]

The Red Door

741 W Washington St. San Diego, CA (map); 619-295-6000;
Cooking method: Grilled
Short Order: An awesome, over-the-top burger topped with bacon, cheese, a fried egg, Hollandaise sauce, and all the fixings that comes together (and stays intact) surprisingly well
Want Fries With That? Yes! Go for the tasty sweet potato spuds
Price: Brunch Burger, $14 (add avocado for $1)
Notes: Available on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Sunday mornings usually start late, unless there's the promise of reheated Bronx pizza or good coffee (not my regular brew, which was recently dubbed the worst of Trader Joe's offerings—oops.) If you can relate, let me point you toward a burger well worth leaving the cozy confines of your bed: the brunch burger at The Red Door.

Chef Miguel Valdez's commitment to using every ingredient to its full potential (and letting nothing go to waste) was key in this elaborate burger's creation. Now that it's been realized, he says he has a hard time eating a burger anywhere else. I can relate.

This beast of a burger starts with all of the usual suspects, including a half-pound patty of hand-formed Meyer Natural Angus beef, a juicy hunk of tomato, sautéed onions, and lettuce from the restaurant's family garden. There's also applewood-smoked bacon, aged white cheddar, and two distinctly brunch-inspired additions: a fried egg and Hollandaise sauce. The final product may be the ultimate brunch dish, because it's simultaneously breakfast and lunch, both in terms of ingredients and heft. If you can get through this monster, you'll be happily stuffed...for hours.

The patty didn't have much char, but was well-seasoned, and resonated with bold and beefy flavors. It was moist and juicy and grilled to my requested medium-rare. Even with nothing but beef and bun, this would be a tasty burger, but each element that was added made it more delicious than the sum of its (many, many) parts.


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Going into the meal, I was concerned the brunch burger would fall victim to the problems I've encountered with other egg-topped burgers, like the over-salted disaster at The Lion's Share or the yolk and mayo malfunction at Quality Social. But, where those burgers failed, the brunch burger succeeded: all of the ingredients were perfectly executed and properly proportioned. Each individual flavor shone, and the burger was so carefully constructed that there was no ingredient slippage. Even the squishy buttermilk bun from Sadie Rose Baking Co. stayed intact.


Burgers come with a side of regular or sweet potato fries or a side salad. I can't comment on the regular fries, but the hand-cut sweet potato spuds were light, crisp, and flecked with just enough salt. No amount of them could possibly be too much, even though they're served beside a huge burger.

The brunch burger is available on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (and comes with a complimentary basket of mini muffins and scones). You can also get a classic cheeseburger anytime, and there's a lamb burger topped with lemon aioli, feta, and cucumber on the lunch menu. Or, stop by on Tuesday nights and snag a specialty burger (created for that night only) and a craft brew for $15.

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