"Where's the beef?" the Wendy's ad campaign famously asked back in
the '80s. Our 2013 reply: Who gives a rat's ass? We've seen the light,
we've moaned (quietly) in delight, we've licked the copious juices
running down our hand, we've discovered anew why "eat" has such sexual
connotations–and we're not even gonna get into the Cockey rhyming slang
"to plate" (look it up). Yes, we've finally experienced the lamb cheeseburger at Sundried Tomato Cafe.
The dish, we boldly informed our charming
waitstaff at the San Juan Capistrano location, was "sex on a plate" (we
blame that entirely on the two Chimays). And later we discovered that's managing partner Robert Quest's exact description.
This house specialty arrives on a dish roughly the size of a Viking longboat. The brioche bun (high egg and butter content for a rich bite) features tender lamb par excellence, Gorgonzola (salty and to-die-for), tomato, Bermuda onion, lettuce and aioli. The accompanying battalion of shoestring fries, with Gorgonzola, Sriracha (an inspired touch) and parsley could have sustained Napoleon's entire army on the retreat from Moscow.
Sundried Tomato is not your destination for a lunchtime drinking session ($8 for a Chimay guarantees that; there are extensive Happy Hour alternatives). For a burger that'll change your way of thinking about an American way of eating (again, not inexpensive, but worth every penny), you won't do better. And the fries? Sweet potato with truffle oil is an option. Sweet Jesus!