Sacramento’s Localis scores with new burger

The “Spaniard Burger” with smashed and fried fingerling potatoes, at Localis in Sacramento
The “Spaniard Burger” with smashed and fried fingerling potatoes, at Localis in Sacramento Carla Meyer

Localis, at 21st and S streets in Sacramento, is one of Sacramento’s best new restaurants. So when chef/co-owner Chris Barnum introduced a burger to its lunch menu a few weeks ago, we had to try it.

That burger, not surprisingly, is one of the more memorable I’ve had recently. It’s called the “Spaniard Burger,” and contains half a pound of beef from Petaluma’s Stemple Creek Ranch, manchego cheese and spicy romesco sauce on a ciabatta bun.

As with all Barnum’s food, attention to detail makes the difference. Meat and bun are cooked on a cast-iron grill plate in Localis’ wood-fired oven, lending each an intriguing touch of smoky flavor. Localis’ burger also is the first I have tried in some time in which the lettuce factors as more than textural break between bun and patty. Barnum lightly dresses the red lettuce with salt and lemon, lending an acidity that offsets the burger’s fattier elements.

One caveat: The sandwich’s height can lead to sauce spillage on one’s first bite. But a lot of burger lovers consider messiness a plus, anyway.

Localis, which focuses on local, seasonal and fine-dining-level craft, added a burger 10 months after it opened “because we are really trying to push our lunch,” Barnum said. He’d hesitated before, Barnum said, because his business partners at Broderick Roadhouse and Broderick Midtown focus on burgers, and he wanted Localis to be its own entity.

But then people like Rodney Blackwell, of the Burger Junkies website and annual Sacramento Burger Battle, kept asking about a burger, Barnum said. He would talk to Blackwell about “what it would take to be part of the Burger Battle,” Barnum said.

Expect the Spaniard burger, which costs $15 and comes with house-made root vegetable chips or seasonal side salad (add $2 for smashed and fried fingerling potatoes, $3 for jamon serrano), to be a contender in any battle in which it participates.

The burger is available for lunch only. Localis is open for lunch from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays.

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