On Thursday, I dropped by Grange Restaurant & Bar at the Citizen Hotel because my collegue Allen Pierleoni and I are working on a story about french fries – and Grange has excellent fries. But it would be weird to order a plate of fries for lunch and nothing else. So I zeroed in on the burger, which comes with fries.
But when my server mentioned that there was a special burger on the menu for Bacon Fest, that week-long serenade for that flavorful slab of pork, I went for it immediately.
I came for the fries and wound up eating one of the greatest burgers of my life.
It was big and beautiful, with a wonderful domed bun and a hefty appearance on the plate. And I could see the bacon peaking out from the sides. This wasn’t ordinary bacon. It was two slices of shockingly thick, amazingly tender bacon from heaven.
Altogether, it was an inviting and intimidating bit of madness from executive chef Oliver Ridgeway, whose skill, creativity and passion have made Grange one of the very best restaurants in the Sacramento region. I said as much in my recent review. Since then, I have visited three of Grange’s most direct competitors – and came away thinking Grange is operating at another level. Watch for a Q&A in with Ridgeway by Chris Macias in Sunday’s Feast section.
But I digress. Burgers at upscale restaurants are both a chance to have a little fun and show off. That’s what’s going on here – times ten. One bite into this Bacon Fest special burger and I knew it was special. The flavors are so deep and exciting and the mouthfeel is incredible. That thick bacon is so tender it practically dissolves on your tongue, and it coats your mouth as you bite into the beef.
The patty itself is ground with an infusion of bacon, which brings an extra wallop of flavor and, with notes of smoke and salt, makes the beef taste like super beef. Cooked medium-rare, it is pink-red in the center. Served with house-made pickels, grilled onions, light-as-air bacon aioli, a bacon-salted bun, and cheddar cheese – along with an order of those excellent french fries – this burger was a tremendous eating experience.
I’m making a point to tell you all this because this is a limited-run burger. You have to act fast. Although Bacon Fest officially wraps up Sunday, I’m told this burger is coming off the menu after 2 p.m. today. I would urge Ridgeway and Grange to keep it around. If they don’t, someone should launch a “save this burger” petition drive.
In this job, I have eaten a lot of great burgers, at upscale restaurants and dives alike, but as I wrack my brain and recall the burgers at Juno’s, Formoli’s, The Waterboy, Mulvaney’s, the Flaming Grill, Broderick, Capital Dime, Pangaea and many others, I cannot think of a hamburger that was this delicious, this balanced and this bold.
Is this the best burger I’ve ever had? Right now, I’d have to say yes.
Call The Bee’s Blair Anthony Robertson, (916) 321-1099. Follow him on Twitter @Blarob.