Just like everyone else with any business sense in Washington, restaurants are jumping on the Stephen Strasburg craze. But as Strasburgers flood the market, how can foodies tell the aces from the minor-leaguers? We visited three area restaurants to rate their burgers for taste, presentation, and creativity—also known as “Strasburgness.” In each category, we ranked them from 1 (bottom) to 14 (tops) in honor of the phenom’s debut game with 14 strikeouts.
We were excited to see the bring-the-heat concoction—topped with spicy pepper-jack cheese and red chilies—at this joint, but we must admit the entire thing fell flat. The burger was cooked way beyond our medium-rare instructions, the cheese had a heat-lamp-induced sheen, and the guacamole looked as runny as Gerber 1st Foods peas. Then there was the matter of two ominous red chili peppers that left our mouths on fire and unable to taste anything for a good five minutes. Finally, the bun holding this Strasburger together was too floury and was squashed completely flat as soon as we bit into it. The verdict: Stephen Strasburg heat is good for retiring batters, but Glory Days’ heat is not good for tastebuds.
Overall taste: 4
Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill
Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger features two four-ounce patties glazed with a chipotle-honey sauce, a toasted bun coated with an island-chipolte dressing, jack cheese, as well as lettuce, tomato, and onion strings. That combination is a nod to Strasburg’s ability to switch from “the sweet to the heat” on the mound. But the burger lacked Strasburg’s boldness and confidence. While the chipotle-honey glaze was a nice touch, we wanted to taste it more, particularly because the island dressing seemed straight from the supermarket. In spite of those flaws, the presentation won us over: The burger was stabbed with a steak knife—a feeling of intimidation that upped Tortilla Coast’s creativeness score.
Overall taste: 10
With aged beef that’s good enough to be served medium-rare, it’s hard to go wrong at this delightful local chain. There’s a lot going on in the Strasburg homage: perfectly cooked beef topped with a hot dog, which stands for the pitcher’s stint with the minor-league Phoenix Desert Dogs; 14 pickles, one for each Strasburg strikeout (BGR was expecting a much smaller K count); Syracuse-orange Vermont cheddar cheese, representing his time with triple-A Syracuse; and a catcher’s mitt of a toasted sesame bun. With all those nods to Strasburg’s style and his journey through the minors, BGR cruised to the top with Strasburgness points.
Overall taste: 14
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