627 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92101 (map); 619-234-0094; thewerewolf.net
Cooking method: Griddled
Short Order: Just another average burger. With so many better options nearby, I'd go elsewhere
Want Fries With That? Lightly battered spuds come standard. They're just ok
Price: Half-pound Boof Burger, $10.75
I go into every AHT review hoping for a burger that's at least good (or, better yet: great). Fairly often, the places I'm expecting to be average turn out to be awesome. Less often, the reverse is true. This was one of those times.
On one hand, Werewolf is brand-new, so I'm tempted to give the dead-average burger I received a conditional pass. But when you consider the ownership (the same team behind the Waterfront and Harbor Town Pub, two acclaimed, burger-centric restaurants), it becomes more difficult to explain away executional flubs as opening week jitters.
The half-pound "Boof" burger ($10.75) made a great first impression. Served on a toasted and buttered commercial bun with your choice of cheese (I opted for American), a heap of sautéed onions, and a Thousand Island-esque sauce (which I nixed), it looks like a good, old-fashioned cheeseburger for a reasonable price—somewhat of an endangered species in San Diego, where premium-priced, fancy-pants burgers are becoming the norm, not an exception. A few thin slices of pale tomato, a handful of mesclun greens, and pickle are stacked on the side.
When I cut the burger in half for the "autopsy shot," my heart sank a bit. The patty was cooked through, under-seasoned, and had little juice or moisture. Worse yet, while the top of the patty had a crisp, brown crust, the underside told a totally different story.
The wet, grey hamburger meat looked similar to the seven different brands of frozen, microwaveable burgers I recently sampled for an upcoming taste test. With this reminder, the nightmares might never end.
A side of fries comes standard. Made from frozen, lightly battered spuds, they're ok if you require a starchy, salty, side with your burger, but they're nothing special. I ate a few, then quickly lost interest.
I ordered mac and cheese as an insurance policy, which paid off. Werewolf's version features Gemelli pasta in a creamy chipotle-spiked sauce, topped with gremolata and fried kale. It's significantly better than the burger, but couldn't match Salt and Cleaver's aged white cheddar version.
Overall, the entire meal was average and unremarkable. Everything was ok for the price, but with so many other options in the Gaslamp Quarter that do burgers better, I don't think I could be convinced to go back unless it was just for a beer.