“New Zealand 100% Grass Fed Kobe Wagyu Burger”
For the fifth stop on our summer beach tour we ate at Encinitas Ale House today. Encinitas Ale House claims to have “locally world famous burgers & ales”. We observed that they did have quite a few beers on tap, with taps for many more types of beers hanging from the ceiling. The burgers, however, received a B. Maybe they are “locally world famous” at 33.0384°N, 117.293°W (which their menu indicates is their location, though Google Maps identifies it as the shop next to them), but I don’t think they are world famous outside of that location.
A word about the atmosphere: We went at lunch and it was a bright sunny day, but it was dark inside Encinitas Ale House. As a result, the pictures above are kind of dark. Sorry about that. Also, it was hot in there. They had a big fan that seemed to be pulling hot air out of the restaurant, but some air conditioning or better fans would have been nice.
As for the burgers, we ordered a variety of their burgers, and generally found them to be decent but not super flavorful. I ordered the trio which was made from a combination of chuck, brisket, and short rib. The menu did say that it came with carmelized onions, but it didn’t say it would be swimming in them. There was a layer of carmelized onions on the burger that was maybe 1/4 inch thick. They were not good, and I ended up removing all of them. Like those who ordered the Wagyu burger and the Santana Burger, my burger was not that flavorful. We thought the burgers could have used some salt and pepper mixed in before cooking, and the waitress confirmed that they do not put any salt or pepper in the ground meat before (or after) cooking it.
The fries are described as “cajun seasoned shoestring fries”. A couple of us referred to them as the “spicy fries” when ordering and the waitress was quick to point out that they were not spicy. I thought this was odd since they are supposed to be cajun seasoned, but we soon learned why. The fries were accurately described on the menu … other than the fact that they were neither cajun seasoned nor of the shoestring variety.
We also ordered a basket of onion rings so we could try those. I am not a big onion ring eater, but I thought the onion rings were good. Our onion ring aficionado, however, felt that they were a bit overcooked.
How much will Encinitas Ale House set you back? The Wagyu burger was $15.95, the Trio burger was around $15, and the Santana burger was $12.50. Add in a $2.50 soda plus tax, and you have a burger meal in the $16 – $20 range.
$16 – $20 for a B-rated burger in a dimly lit, hot establishment, when it is bright and sunny outside and the beach is two blocks away (but not visible)? I guess you might want to go there to try one of their many beers, or if you happen to already be at 33.0384°N, 117.293°W — a location where they supposedly are “locally world famous”. Otherwise, you can have a similar experience (but a much better view) at Pacific Coast Grill or Poseidon, or you can go down the road a bit and have a better burger at The Grill at Torrey Pines, or at Smashburger in Del Mar.