Thursday, April 13, 2017


Location: Several places; location reviewed is in Berkeley, CA

Food: American

Close To: Berkeley Rep, The Marsh

In many ways, the small chain of Eureka! restaurants scattered across the West Coast resembles the Ashland eatery Smithfield’s, which I reviewed here. Both restaurants elevate classic American dishes with upscale ingredients and bold flavors, sport a minimalist, masculine atmosphere, and feature a wide selection of whiskies at the bar. But, while Smithfield’s concentrates on a variety of meat dishes, Eureka! focuses on the classic American meal: The hamburger.

Eureka!’s enticing hamburgers range from the classic setup of lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles to the Bone Marrow Burger, topped with a bone marrow porcini butter that’s so popular it usually sells out by the end of the day. My personal favorite options are the Bison Burger, which combines hot jalapeño jam with the complex sweetness of grilled bell peppers on a lean bison patty, and the Cowboy Burger, an indulgent delight with bacon, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. The restaurant will accept most substitutions, so feel free to ask for different ingredients on a burger if what’s on the menu don’t quite suit your fancy.

Though burgers are the main focus at Eureka!, there are many other excellent options. Appetizers include Eureka!’s signature mac n’ cheese balls, Polish sausage lollipop corn dogs, and even ceviche. Other entrée items are also available, like orange-chili pork ribs and a selection of tacos. Not to be missed is a unique ginger-lime soda that provides the perfect combination of tartness and heat. Sweet potato fries are available with your burger, but Eureka!’s unique version comes covered in cinnamon and honey, accentuating the sweet potatoes in a way that’s almost dessert-like. And speaking of desserts, there’s only one on the menu: A warm, moist, unbelievably rich bourbon barrel cake served with caramel sauce and a big scoop of ice cream.

Most Eureka! restaurants are open late enough for you to catch dinner either before or after a show, and several are walking distance from theatrical venues. Eureka! is refined comfort food at its finest: The favorites you grew up with, given just enough of a twist to make them a new experience.

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