Appetizers

Go-to’s: an all-American burger and scallops with some heat

We all have our go-to dishes at certain restaurants, and it’s always a treat to revisit them when we’re in the neighborhoods. We sat down to two of ours over the past couple of weeks:

The hamburger is seemingly simple in concept but deceptively complex in execution. At first look, it’s a sandwich of bread, meat and a few condiments. But the variables that go into making it can expand exponentially, and the choices and considerations add up quickly. What kind of meat? How do you cook it? How about the bun? What do you put on it? And so on.

When we’re in the mood for a straightforward burger, one of our destinations is Chargin’s Bar & Grill in East Sacramento. The burger is cooked on an iron griddle, and is big and juicy and just a little greasy. It’s plopped on a perfectly sized soft-chewy bun from Bella Bru bakery, with raw onion, lettuce, tomato and pickle chips ($7). Add cheese for an extra 50 cents, and add avocado and bacon to that for $1 more. Sides are homemade potato salad and coleslaw.

We get the ultimate version and heap coleslaw on top of those other condiments. The result is a double handful of delight, crunchy and soft, warm and delicious, with juices running down our fingers and on to the plate. Better grab a cold Stella Artois in a cold glass to help with the process. And a few napkins. Get it from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.

Chargin’s, 4900 J St., Sacramento; (916) 454-1524.

In a 180-degree turn, we head for Sushimono Japanese restaurant for its “inferno scallops.” Five fresh ocean scallops are cooked tempura-style and show up covered in two sauces. The crisp, delicate shells hold the steaming, succulent seafood until the morsels are ready to be dipped into the sauces. Crunchy and soft meet sweet and hot ($6.50). Gone in 60 seconds, or a little longer.

Sushimono, 5349 Sunrise Blvd. (at Madison Avenue), Fair Oaks. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; (916) 536-9885

  Comments