I'm the first to admit; I believe we're past critical mass when it comes to burgers in San Diego....I mean, so we really need another one? In fact, I'm pretty sure we won't be doing a Burger Week this year. It seems like not a week goes by where my junk email box doesn't see some press release or freebie offer for some new burger place. Since I don't do freebies or press "events" (since when am I the "press") I just ignore or delete them....that doesn't make the amount of this stuff less irritating though.
I'd heard mixed messages when it came to The Habit, ranging from it being the lowest on the SYSCO food chain, to totally delicious, char grilled heaven. From being bland, and tasteless, to being a great bargain. Recently, I needed a rather quick lunch in the Mission Valley area, a place long on chains and rather short on what I enjoy eating. An area the ever eloquent Ed from Yuma once called one of the Nine Circles of Food Hell. My first thought was to just drive through In N Out, but man that line is always so long....so I decided to head to The Habit Burger Grill. As I arrived I tried to remember what used to be here.....wasn't it Baja Fresh???
And yes, The Habit too is a chain....of 50 restaurants and growing. What really surprised me were the prices which really weren't bad. The burgers start at $2.95, for a single stripped down burger with no cheese. I ordered a Double Charburger with no cheese($3.95) and decided to make it a meal with fries and a regular drink ($6.95). Just like Fuddruckers they give you that vibrating coaster thing that goes off when you're order's ready if you're eating in. The service was friendly, but not super quick..........
Eventually my coaster vibrated itself right off my table and my order was ready.
At first I thought the burger looked kinda puny compared to the tray cooked-by-the-numbers fries. But at least the right buttons were pressed on the fry station and these were crisp, salty, and hot.
Actually, the burger wasn't quite as small as it looked. Though a single might by barely snack worthy for many folks.
This was by no means terrible and a mixed bag overall. The burger avoided the problems encountered with many char-grilled burgers as it was fairly moist, even kinda greasy to some extent. It did lack a nice char-grilled flavor though. The bun was toasted, crumbly, dry and on it's way to becoming croutons. On the good side, there wasn't mayo overkill. I really couldn't taste the caramelized onions and in fact, much like the burger, when I found a piece I tasted it alone...it was pretty much the same as the burger....bland. Still, all of this for under seven bucks ain't bad.
It's better than one of the "big four" (McDonald's, etc...) burgers (though when did I last have one of those), though I still prefer In N Out. I won't go out of my way for this, but I've had worse burgers and paid much more for it. Honestly, I'm not sure if that's a compliment or not..... As much as I detest the phrase, I'm tempted to say, "it is what it is...." blech, oh well, Que sera, sera........