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The Burger Robot at Creator Makes the Finickiest Patties Ever

It’s the fussiest $6 burger we’ve ever tried. 


To cook a hamburger according to the British chef Heston Blumenthal's technique, you first have to grind three different cuts of beef and arrange the strands of meat in parallel rows instead of just forming the ground beef into a patty shape, willy-nilly. The method is meant to maximize the burger’s tenderness. No less an authority than J. Kenji López-Alt, the Food Lab cooking blog’s recipe guru, once called the resulting sandwich the “most labor-intensive hamburger ever.”

Now, at Creator, San Franciscans can buy such a burger, prepared using the vaunted vertical-alignment technique in five minutes flat—by a robot, mind you—for a mere $6. Most of the coverage of Creator, the world’s first robo-burger purveyor, has rightly focused on the apparatus itself, in all its jaunty, Rube Goldberg–esque craftiness—the little bun-slicing saw blade, the assembly line of garnish-dispensing tubes. But perhaps not enough has been said about how the robot expedites a modernist cooking technique López-Alt describes, bluntly, as “a major pain in the ass.” The result? Maybe not the most delicious burger you’ve ever eaten, but a damn good one for the price. Give a robot credit where credit is due: Judged on its texture alone—loose and tender, with little nubs of fat for added interest—the Creator burger lives up to the hype. 680 Folsom St. (near Hawthorne St.), 806-680-3657 


Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco

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