I am actually writing this in the lobby of the W Hotel in San Diego. And yes, I am wearing a black t-shirt. And I'm using Verizon Wireless Mobile, which is pretty fritzy. Well, that takes away some of the coolness factor. But I'm not here to talk about cool. I'm here to talk about hamburgers. Which they have here at the W: regular($10) and sliders ("Kobe": $14). I will try them later.
The issue at hand with burgers is whether it is better to have preformed patties, with their uniform size and consistency, or to make them yourself. Over the years I have noticed that preformed patties tend to have some problems when grilled or griddled. Even if you push them in the center, they tend to pucker up round when cooked. And they tend to store an lot of moisture inside them. This leads to a liquid explosion when the first bite is taken: its particularly noticeable with medium rare burgers. It happens all the time with supermarket patties, but I have noticed it even from more upscale purveyors, such as Ottomanelli's. And I love their burgers.
Although its a bit of a pain to form your own patty, there are several advantages. First, you can size your burgers accordingly. Second, the looser packing you do with your own hands ends up with better texture and less gooey liquid than a preformed patty. Because of this, its easier to control cooking time. The extra effort will be appreciated. And now I will try the burger at the W.