The long-awaited return of baseball season (The Nationals' home opener is Friday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves) means restaurants can once again slip their Nats-related promotions back into the rotation.
Tortilla Coast has wasted no time resurrecting its “Strasburger,” a double-decker meal deal erected in honor of D.C. hurler Stephen Strasburg.
The price of the big-mouth burger remains pegged to Strasburg’s career highlights — first pick (1) in the first round (1) of the 2009 Major League Baseball draft + jersey number (37) = $11.37 — and includes a heaping mound of french fries.
According to Tortilla Coast General Manager Bill Anderson, the Strasburger continues to be made the same way it always has: Two, 6-ounce patties of roughly 80/20 ground beef are flame grilled, glazed in chipotle-honey sauce, covered in Jack cheese, topped with fried onion strings, smothered in shredded lettuce and sliced tomato and parked between buns slathered with chipotle-spiked Thousand Island dressing.
Yet, somehow, today it tastes even less like it was supposed to when it left burger buff Jody Fellows wanting two summers before.
Back in 2012, the Burger Days blog founder gave the Capitol Hill watering hole high marks for presentation, but was struck by the disconnect between what was listed on the menu and what registered on his taste buds. “For all the stuff that goes into the Strasburger, it loses a whole hell of a lot when the entire thing gets into your mouth,” he warned . “We expected to be hit with a lot more taste.”
We dare say the kitchen may have actually lost a few more steps since then.
The patties placed before this hired mouth were adequately beefy and surprisingly juicy (with just a hint of smoke), but bore absolutely no sign of the promised honey sweetness or chili pepper-fueled heat. Ditto for the chipotle-Island dressing, which lacked the oomph of even fast food-grade special sauce. The melted cheese served as a decent binder and the tangle of breaded onions provided some crunch. But the mountain of damp lettuce caused the bottom half of our bun to collapse after just one bite.
We hoped the fries might save things, but, alas, the no-frills spuds were as dry and flavorless (the one time a bar decides to ease up on salt) as the burger was disjointed.
Still, people seem to love it.
Anderson said the restaurant sells up to a 20 of the specialty burgers a day during the season. And very few folks appear to be intimidated by its sheer bulk.
“The size and age of the guest has no bearing on their ability to finish the burger; we have been witness to ladies in their 70s and kids in grade school taking it down in one sitting,” Anderson shared.
As it's done in the past, Anderson said the original Capitol Hill Tortilla Coast will crank out Strasburgers from open to close on days Strasburg takes the mound.
“TCCH will also do a bonus Strasburger day should Stephen Strasburg pitch during the All Star Game,” he said.