Try Jeff Mason's Burgers At Pal's Take Away | Tasting Table San Francisco

Jeff Mason doesn't want you to eat burgers every day

Jeff Mason of Pal's Take Away, San Francisco's Socrates of sandwich makers, has impressed every food critic in town. Now he's entering more treacherous waters: the ones where the burger geeks swim.

The weekday permanent pop-up recently introduced Burger Wednesdays, which occur every two weeks–today, for instance, and then again on April 9.

Mason spent months testing out beef blends with Marin Sun Farms, finally settling on a mix of ground brisket, short rib, chuck and "one other thing," which he'll confide to you if you lean in close.

The mystery ingredient gives the meat a double-dose of beefiness, so that Pal's Burger ($11), served rare to medium-rare, tastes more like aged steak.

Make that a butter-topped steak, given the Marla Bakery brioche bun that frames it; roasted cherry tomatoes and pimento-Cheddar spread do their part as well.

The daily special burger from two weeks ago

Each Burger Wednesday, Mason serves the Pal's Burger and a special of the day (also $11). His creative process involves driving around, letting ideas pop into his head. "If I test it and it tastes better than I imagined, then I'll serve it," he says.

The special we tried far exceeded its description: Smeared with miso mayonnaise, the top of the burger was coated with long-fried shallots–toasty and sweet–and shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, with a thatch of biting arugula underneath.

We aren't burger geeks, but we were sold.