Chopped Bacon Cheddar Burger and Tater Tots
Pastrami Burger and Skin On Seasoned Fries
San Diego Burger Club went to BABS (Bao’s Awesome Burgers & Sandwiches) for lunch today. This place is good. Really good. The burgers have a nice char to them and are stuffed with cheese, the toppings are great, and Bao’s has multiple forms of fried potatoes — each better than the next. Bao’s gets an A- rating and easily makes it onto our top 10 list.
Bao’s is hidden in a little shopping center on Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa. One of the few knocks on Bao’s is that the little parking lot for that shopping center is always full. There are several streets nearby where one can park on the side of the road, but the street parking also can be quite full. Trust me, Bao’s is worth the parking hassle, and the extra walking to the restaurant will turn out to be a plus considering how many calories you are about to eat.
Bao’s has a nice menu with lots of burger choices, lots of different kinds of fried potatoes, and lots of attitude. For example, the menu notes that “Awesome burgers are SUPPOSED to be messy, so don’t be such Sissy, just eat it and let the mess flow.” The menu also contains a star rating system for how spicy the burgers are, with four stars representing “Only try it if you are chili head!!” and five stars representing “Causes lots of pain and sweat!!!” Bao’s also was rocking some decent hip hop music at lunch today, so we got to rock out to the Beastie Boys (among others) while enjoying our burgers. Bao’s also has a loyalty program where you get one point for every dollar you spend. Various points earn you various free food items, but if you reach 1,000 points you get to name the burger of the month.
Okay enough about the atmospherics — what about the food? I think the burgers lived up to their appellation — awesome. They are half pound burgers stuffed with cheese, cooked to order, with a nice char on them. One of the burgers at our table was overcooked and would have received a higher rating had it been cooked medium as ordered, but still we all enjoyed the burgers. The toppings also were excellent. Those who ordered the Chopped Bacon Cheddar Burgers noted that the bacon was thick and crispy. As a pastrami burger fan I went for their Pastrami Burger, and the pastrami was quite good as well. The buns also were nicely toasted and held up well to these juicy burgers. We did feel that the burgers themselves could have been a little better seasoned, which probably is part of what knocked them down from an A to an A-. Nevertheless, those were some good burgers.
The potatoes also were excellent. Among us we ordered the Skin On Seasoned Fries, the Tater Tots, the Twisty Twists (aka curly fries), and the Criss Cross (aka waffle fries). We also tried to order the “Fresh Made Potato Chips”, but they said they were “sold out” (which sounded a bit suspicious to us since we arrived at 11:45am — not long after they opened and when there was only one other table with patrons). Some of us liked some forms of their potatoes better than others, but they were all good and the tots in particular stood out as quite excellent. The fries were spiced with a healthy dose of pepper (among other things) and were quite good as well.
None of us had ever been to Bao’s before. I dare say we will be back though. Bao’s gets an A- and a lot of respect from the San Diego Burger Club.