Last Fall, McNally's devised a seasonal menu that included something rarely seen in these parts- a lamb burger. I raved about it and some molten hot dip that was also on the special seasonal menu in a post last year. I made it a point to go to McNally's as much as possible to get that lamb burger (which was especially delicious with some Guinness) and to convert as many of my forkie-friends to the cause as I could. I preached the gospel of the lamb burger and was sad to see it go when the menu had to change.
Well, I had a chance to visit McNally's this week. I was pretty excited to go because I heard my beloved lamb burger was back. Oh, the anticipation. The longing I had endured. The chance to once again savor that tasty lamb with cheese, prosciutto, braised onions and fresh tomato. I was nearly shaking as I opened the menu.
My anticipation evaporated and my life flashed before me as I scanned the menu only to learn that the lamb burger was there, but HAD CHANGED!!! WTF??!! (What the Fork)
So, how did it change? Three major ways in my opinion. One- the lamb is mixed with sausage. Probably a reason for this. Lamb can be kind of lean and some sausage can add some fat to keep the meat moist. But sausage is sausage and lamb is lamb, unless of course it's lamb sausage, but that is a different story. If I want lamb, I want lamb, not sausage. I hate it when people mix a meat that is perfectly good on its own (like lamb) and make it taste like sausage. Two- cumin. Cumin is one of the most distinctive spices I can think of. It's right up there with saffron and fennel. I can pick cumin out of just about any spice blend. It has its place, usually in some Indian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. The reason it bent my tines on the lamb burger was because it told me the whole thing was taking a Mediterranean/Greek/Turkish twist. Three- yogurt sauce. Bingo! That confirms it. Maybe it was even served on pita bread. I don't know, I was too forked off to read on. Besides, turns out McNally's had run out of them, so even if I wanted to give it the old college try, no go.
Okay, okay, so I hear you saying, "How can you sit there and complain about something you didn't try? You might like it." Yeah, well, you have a point there, a small one, but fine, a point. Maybe it is good and juicy and sausagey/Greek tasting with creamy cucumber yogurt tzatziki sauce. I DON'T CARE!
Here's my point: When you make something good, you shouldn't screw with it. Ask Coca Cola about that.
My other problem is, this is just a tad too trend-oriented. Why does everyone seem to associate lamb with Greek flavors? Sure, lamb is stereotypically Greek. Remember the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the aunt says to the finace', "What? You donn eata meat? Okay, I'll make lamb." Also, this Greek gyro tzatziki burger thing isn't new or unique around here. Bros. has a lamb burger on the menu that bears the same description. Now, instead of putting last year's tasty burger on the menu, McNally's is content to follow suit.
Last year's lamb burger, the REAL lamb burger was tasty. Great combination of ingredients. Best of all, it really showcased the flavor of the lamb. When it was cooked just right, so it was hot and super juicy, it was without peers in the local burger universe. I miss it dearly. Maybe I will try one of the new trendy lamb burgers. But, more likely, when I want something with that flavor profile, I will probably go to Nick's and get a phenomenally delicious gyro made out of that spinning meat loaf on a stick. If I try one, I will let you know.
But, for the time being, shame on you McNally's. Last year you showcased lamb. This year, you're just showcasing a trend. Woo Hoo.
By the way, if you want to try a burger with a composition that is pretty close to the REAL lamb burger, go to Granite City and try their Napa Valley Burger. No lamb, but pretty nice.