Last night we partook of one of many pleasures that one I of Portland’s eateries, The Screen Door, serves up nightly, the perfect hamburger.

While the delicacy goes by another name on the menu, the name escapes us.

The burger will stay with us forever.

As we savored the simple pleasure of a patty between two perfect buns, we began to ponder what the requirements for a world class hamburger are?

I’m a rare moment of clarity, it came to us.

The bun.

Yes, while a good beef patty is important, we’ve found that as long as it is at least 3.5″ in diameter and at least 1″ thick, most edible, gently cooked ground beef from a cow will suffice.

Ditto for toppings, as long a they are edible and applied to taste, there need be nothing special about them.

{Editor’s note: The toppings on The Screen Door’s burger are superb}

For all of a burger’s virtues, what truly sets it apart is the bun.

The bun is a game of millimeters, and it is where most burgers fail miserably.

If the bun’s crust is too firm, the experience of the burger is lost to the fight through the bun to gastronomic paradise.  If it is too thin, it is lost to the struggle of simply keeping the sloppy treasure together.

The perfect bun, which can be found, again, at The Screen Door, firmly holds the meat and toppings together without inhibiting the biting motion in any way.

The perfect bun, like a good referee, allows the sheer delight of the hamburger feast to occur within its designed norms.

It is a beautiful thing.