The first time I heard of Foster Burger was from my sister Sabrina. I'd driven by the new place on Foster Road and noticed it, but she actually beat me to the punch and then raved about the burgers there. Next, I heard from my friend Risa that Foster Burger is her husband Josh's (he is a Chef/Teacher at Oregon Culinary Institute) favorite new burger joint. So. I finally made my way there.
The inside of Foster Burger was surprisingly dark, with dim lighting overhead and small lamps on tables giving off reddish-orangeish light. Concert posters (for bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, Public Enemy, Sleater Kinney, Dancehall Crashers, Cherry Poppin' Daddies and the Dandy Warhols to name a few) covered every inch of wall surface. For a minute I was nervous that I'd taken my three literate children in there - but no harm done. During the time we spent there, music by The Smiths and Morrissey played the entire time. To my delight there was a full bar, and it had a beautiful antique-looking mirror hanging over it to amplify the experience. Overall my impression of the place was "so Portland."
But - on to the important part. The food. I ordered the Foster Burger (had to try their signature item). I learned from the menu that burgers are served on buns baked right next door at An Xuyen Bakery. It just doesn't get more local than that. When the burger came, I was not disappointed. I hope nobody (most importantly Sabrina or Josh H.) takes offense to this, but I would almost compare it to an In 'n Out burger, if In n' Out burgers were more homemade, bigger, less greasy and not mass-produced. The patty was perfect (burgers are served "medium" unless you specify otherwise). The high-quality of the beef was evident in each mouth-watering bite. The sesame-seeded bun was lighter than most and toasted to a pleasant crisp. The burger was topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and sweet pickles. Hand-cut fries (with the skins on and also somewhat reminiscent of In 'n Out's) were on the side, as was a yummy "special sauce" which seemed to consist of ketchup/mayo mixed with minced pickles. Delicious on the burger as well as a dip for the fries. All of this for $8.00.
Here's something I thought was cute: my 7-year-old daughter ordered her burger topped with blue cheese instead of traditional cheddar (a girl after my own heart) and after tasting it described it to us as "powerful." (I'm tellin' ya.) Anyhow, Foster Burger's no-nonsense approach to food dictates that meals be served in red and white checked paper-lined baskets. On the other hand, kids' cocktails (Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers) are made with Foster Burger's proprietary grenadine and topped with a single black cherry. As for me, I washed my burger down with a pint of Terminal Gravity IPA.