★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Bar Jules offers a stunningly confident, stridently minimal, deliciously simple burger. The patty is a blend of 70% lean muscle and 30% fat, butchered and ground from local grass-fed livestock. The flavor is remarkably complex, presenting an almost gamey aroma and a rich, earthy flavor with traces of smoke and salt. Except for the air and earth of the Marin Sun Farms rangeland on which it was raised, the meat is otherwise unseasoned.
The bun is airy but firm. I’m not sure what else to say about it but that it was sliced in two, dabbed with a little olive oil, and toasted on the grill. The blackened edges deliver a pleasing crunch. A judicious spread of house-made aioli adds a Provençal twist to the ensemble.
That, my friends, is the totality of the Bar Jules burger. Aside from the aioli it comes undressed—though small dishes of ketchup and mustard are provided by request. We added the latter. There is no lettuce, but the burger is served beside a “little salad.” It too is exceedingly simple, consisting only of lettuce and tossed with a dressing of (I’m guessing) olive oil, lemon juice, and diced capers. It has a clean, acidic bite that pairs brilliantly with the savory meat.
Improbably, the Bar Jules burger is one of the best I've ever tasted. It is the ultimate commitment to culinary minimalism—unfussy, undecorated, unassuming, uncompromising and unashamed of its nudity. It has no tomato, no pickles, no onions, no cheese, no fries, and it makes no apologies. It’s just meat. Period. On a bun. Period. Any questions?
The Creative Lesson
The Bar Jules burger is unequivocal in its commitment to this ethos—a commitment which is supported by quality content and expert execution. It is a kindred spirit in all I strive for in design.
NB: Nathan gives the Bar Jules burger three stars. We also disagree sharply on Umami Burger, which will be the focus of the next review. Stay tuned for a bonus post exploring the distance between our divergent opinions.