Appetizers

Open the menu to another great burger discovery

The half-pound burger at Fabian’s Italian Bistro is formed from house-ground short rib and chuck.
The half-pound burger at Fabian’s Italian Bistro is formed from house-ground short rib and chuck. apierleoni@sacbee.com

Our search for hamburger greatness is never-ceasing, and the hunt paid off last week at Fabian’s Italian Bistro. We happened to drop by the very night the new fall menu was being introduced, and we liked what we saw.

One star of the show is the half-pound burger, hand-formed from a 60-40 ratio of house-ground short rib and Angus chuck. Chef Tom Patterson adds smoked mozzarella, caramelized onion, fried onion ring and sweet chili aioli, and places it all on a bun from the estimable Acme Bakery ($15). We went whole hog, so to speak, and added applewood-smoked bacon and sauteed mushrooms.

The burger comes with a heap of house-cut french fries, seasoned with a proprietary mix of cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, sugar and “secret ingredients.”

That same seasoning adds sweet ‘n’ heat to one of Fabian’s returning appetizers: locally sourced white polenta formed into crisp, french fry-shaped bars, served with marinara sauce and Parmesan.

Other menu additions include chicken liver mousse and creamy tomato soup appetizers. Entree-wise, look for spaghetti with roasted fall squash topped with brown butter and sage; baked manicotti with cheese and tomato sauce; veal Marsala topped with wild mushrooms; and Mary’s-brand free-range roasted chicken with roasted squash and green lentils.

“We love the holiday season and the new fall produce that’s becoming available, and which we’ll be featuring through the rest of the year,” said co-owner Christian Forte (with wife Mercedes).

Where: 11755 Fair Oaks Blvd., Fair Oaks; (916) 536-9891, www.fabiansitalianbistro.com.

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

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