Tortilla Coast’s Strasburger Needs a Shot in the Arm


The Strasburger.

No, not not this one. Or this one. And nah, it's not the one from Glory Days either.

This particular homage to the Nats ace is from Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill. And it's about damn time we took this thing down.

The makeup of the burger sounds pretty fantastic and we give props to the Tex-Mex joint for their creativity. Two patties, glazed in honey chipotle, sandwich together a handful of fried onion strings and pepper jack, and the whole thing is sauced up with a chipotle-spiced thousand island dressing. Shredded lettuce and a couple of tomato slices are thrown in for good measure too.

It's an impressive looking burger, coming to the plate sporting a steak knife through the center which does its best to keep the double-pattied beast whole and upright. It'll definitely turn some heads-- especially when you order it during Sunday brunch.

First things first: they should just leave off the "cooked-to-order" note on the menu because with these skinny-ass patties, they're all coming out the same way. There was no telling apart our orders of medium and medium rare, and it really didn't matter that our servers had no idea which was which when they brought them out. Each of the four patties were cooked through and through without a spot of pink.

We did a little burger dissection, and on their own, the patties were really, really tasty with an excellent char. We got a hint of sweetness on the beef but they needed a bit more seasoning-- we didn't pick up much chipotle flavor at all. The onion straws were fine and crispy and the cheese was full-on melted on the bottom patty. And while not a fan of shredded lettuce, it was sparse and didn't get in the way. The toasted sesame seed bun was denser than the typical ones we're used too, but it worked well and held together through the meal.

But for all the stuff that goes into the Strasburger, it loses a whole hell of a lot when the entire thing gets to your mouth. The problem with a burger of this size and composition is that sometimes, too much is just too much. Eating this burger was like eating any other good, decent burger. But that was just it-- it was like any other decent burger. We expected to be hit with a lot more taste. On their own, the flavors of each component were competent and could be appreciated, but when thrown together, they all got lost.  Each ingredient was just fine playing backup but nothing wanted to step up and take center stage. The only things that stood out even the slightest bit were some of the onion strings. This is a Tex-Mex joint after all-- load up on the chipotle and throw some more spice in there!

Having said all that, we still liked the burgers. There were big, juicy and we finished each one and felt plenty satisfied too. We just wanted more flavor. If this burger was a pitcher, he'd be Gavin Floyd, not Stephen Strasburg. Crank this shit up a notch or two. (Speaking of which, can someone make a Brian Wilson burger? We'd love to see what'd be on that crazy motherfucker. Just no beard, please.)

If you're trying to figure out the Strasburg hook for Tortilla Coast's burg, it's all in the availability and price. You can only get the Strasburger on days he's on the mound and the cost, $11.37, is for his draft position (first round, first pick) and jersey number (37). That also gets you a side of fries.

Surprisingly enough, even though this isn't a full-time burger, Tortilla Coast's is still the most accessible of all the D.C. Strasburgers. Glory Day's version didn't make it past the pitcher's rookie season, BGR's lasted just a month (though it did return for one day last year), and the Nat's own 8-pound monster is only available at select home games.

But don't we deserve more? Doesn't Stephen? Nats Park can't give their ace a full-time burger, but we're confident another burger slinger can. So we're making a plea to all D.C.-area restaurants: Make a Strasburger. Make it good. And make it available full-time.

(Oh, and for the record, the Nats won the game Sunday with Stras pitching six shutout innings and driving in the winning run. Somebody give this kid a permanent burger already.)

Tortilla Coast | 400 1st Street SE | DC | | @tortillacoast 

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