Last weekend before we went to go see Gabriel Iglesias in The Fluffy Movie, we stopped by this place in Chula Vista for a little lunch first. It’s called South Cali Steak Burger Bar.
It’s not much to look at from the outside and I’m sure you’d easily bypass this place just driving by on the road. There are three parking spots in the front.
Inside there’s about 9 tables, one is a big table for larger groups (the one behind Jake in this photo). You can feel the local San Diego love here with the mural of Downtown (which you can partially see to the right), the Padres logo and on the other side (not seen) a logo for the Chargers. There’s also a couple of TV’s showing Spanish related programming or sports.
We got our choice of seating and I picked a big booth near the window. We were greeted with complimentary chips and salsa. The chips were warm and well salted. A lot of times a restaurant will give you chips where the salt just falls off and doesn’t stay on but not these! Every chip had a nice amount of salt and the salsa tasted fresh and flavorful. Very yummy!
[big dadd’z one pound burger / $8.99 + fries $1]
Jake and T shared the Big Dadd’z one pound burger. Geez. It was a stack of two patties (!) with lettuce, melted cheese, bacon, tomato, pickles and onion. The fries were extra and I think they were a dollar. It’s not really listed on the menu but you can add a combo for $2.99 which is fries + drink. We didn’t get the drinks though.
The fries were somewhere between “shoestring” and “steak fries”. They were thicker than normal fries and sprinkled with a seasoning salt. The food arrived PIPPING HOT which I love – you know your food was NOT sitting in the window for long when it arrives this hot! I loved the fries – they were creamy on the inside and had a nice outer crispness. I love my food hot so that was extra nice in my book.
Here’s a look at the crazy large burger again after Jake cut it in half for him and T. The cheese was all oozing and perfectly melted and you can see how juicy this sucker is. It was a nice medium. Jake let me have a bite and I couldn’t fit the thing into my mouth! I got a nice bite of the burger meat though which was nicely seasoned. It tasted like a very juicy burger and it started dripping all over the place. The bacon was also nice and crisp (though we agreed we still like the bacon better over at Charley’s). Messy but really tasty. Jake and T loved this burger!
[patty melt with avocado and onion rings / 6oz – $3.49 + $0.99 for avocado + $2 for onion rings]
I got a Patty Melt on sourdough (because screw rye bread). Avocado sounded like a yummy addition so I got that thrown in, too. Plus onion rings.
The onion rings were on the thin side – I tasted more batter than delicious onion, so I thought they were just okay. It was kind of a panko-bread crumb like texture on the batter. Very crispy and very crunchy. Wished it has a thicker onion.
They have three sizes for the patty melt – 8oz, 6oz and 4oz. I went with the middle – a 6oz patty. They snuck pickles into my patty melt and I accidentally ate part of one (gross). But besides that, this was quite tasty. They grilled some cheese into the outside of the bread and the bread was VERY crisp. Like, a little tooooo crisp. I didn’t eat the crust because it was too crunchy! The onions were good (though could have been cooked or caramelized a bit more) but overall it was well seasoned and the patty was very juicy.
I’m not really certain if these are steak burgers, we didn’t ask the cut of meats they use or if they grind/make them in house, but I can say that I thought the meat was juicy and had an excellent taste to it. Didn’t taste like frozen patties but tasted fresh to us.
Overall the three of us really enjoyed the food here. It’s simple, well made, and quite tasty. It’s not gourmet or hipster or fancy in any way. Just simple diner food that is done well and done right! AND it’s cheap so… just total score all around. We’ll definitely be back to check out more of their menu!
– From the SD Reader, “Not a steak, but not a bad burger”
South Cali Steak Burger Bar
301 Montgomery St.
Chula Vista, CA 91911