This is the third in a series reviewing burgers offered by Menlo Park establishments.
A 1950’s era diner with a stylized neon sign, Jeffrey’s Hamburgers on El Camino is hard to miss. Inside, the theme is carried out through with cherry-red booths and an open stainless-steel kitchen. It opened in 2007.
Just the Facts: Order a cheeseburger at Jeffrey’s, and, at first, you may be underwhelmed. It arrives stripped down to the basics — bun, patty, cheese — nothing more. But Jeffrey’s gives you the chance to add your creative fire (or not) to your burger with unlimited access to the extensive toppings and condiments bar. Not a bad deal for $5.59.
The Bun: It’s not too airy, but not too dense. It’s toasted with precision on the griddle — not too light, not too dark. It’s a Goldilocks’ bun — just right. A wheat bun is offered as an alternative, for those so inclined.
The Patty: It’s a hefty 1/3 lb. patty. The burgers are much thicker, juicier and more filling than the typical quarter pounder. Made from “USDA choice Angus Beef ground daily at Jeffrey’s,” the patties do not disappoint. At the register they ask how you would like your burger done. I ordered mine medium; it was cooked through.
The Cheese: The American cheese was melted across the top of the patty. The classic atomic orange slice had a surprisingly strong flavor. Swiss, Cheddar, blue, Jack and pepper Jack are alternatives.
The Toppings Bar: Jeffrey’s stroke of genius. Gone are the times when mustard must be scraped off, pickles picked out, or tomatoes removed. You are in control. You can decide if you want a jalapeno-salsa-fresca-sauerkraut-Tabasco burger or not. Don’t worry — they also stock the usual toppings. Sliced tomatoes, red onions, and lettuce leaves line up in the metal trays like soldiers in formation. There are three permutations of pickles. The ridged pickle chips and the sweet pickle relish would both fit right into the burger. The thick Dill pickle spears are probably better suited for eating straight up.
The Condiments: Ketchup, yellow mustard, and mayo are held in a big pump dispenser. A spicy brown mustard is on hand in an unlabeled squeeze bottle for mustard connoisseurs out there. They also have A-1 Steak Sauce on deck to ease any incipient steak burger cravings.
The Fries ($1.79 extra): These taste like the stereotypical fast-food fry, which happen to be pretty good. Their girth lies somewhere in the realm between the anorexic shoestring fry and the obese steak fry. Be careful as they come super-heated straight from the fryer.
Jeffrey’s serves up a juicy burger that you can dress to impress.
Photos by Linda Hubbard Gulker