Jeff Smith 10 a.m., July 29
Back to Basics: Canada Steak Burger
I've been eating a lot of fancy pants food lately. There's nothing wrong with that, but by Friday, all I wanted was a burger. Not a froufrou burger either, just a plain old decent patty.
Enter Canada Steak Burger, on University Avenue in Normal Heights. This down home, no frills eatery has a steady stream of folks queueing up for their burgers, gyros, kabobs, and falafel, and all of them seem to be on a first name basis with the guys behind the counter.
When you walk in, if you're an Akroyd/Belushi fan of a certain age, you'll probably chuckle.
My 1/2 pound Steakburger ($4.79, cheese is $.39 extra) was a big fellow, still sizzling hot from the grill, topped with lettuce, tomato and dill pickle on a fresh, pillowy bun. When I took a bite, my first thought was that I really need to eat more mustard on my sandwiches. Yum. The condiments, ketchup, mustard, and mayo, were on the bottom bun, and with each bite I got a bit of one, the other, or a combination. It was hot, juicy, beefy grilled goodness. In fact, my happiness was apparently obvious to everyone, a nearby stranger commented that he was looking forward to getting his burger just by watching me eat mine. Since I was with my husband, I'll assume it wasn't a pickup line, although, if I was single, it would have been a pretty good one.
John's Gyro Sandwich ($5.99) was moist, garlicky and the generous portion of meat had crispy-good edges. Kudos also for serving a decently sized cup of tzatziki with it, I always run out with those tiny ones.
We split an order of Jumbo Buffalo Wings with Fries ($5.49). Okay, I wouldn't call them exactly "jumbo" but we did get six of them instead of the advertised five wings. Besides, they probably wanted to give us an even number so we wouldn't fight over the last one. They weren't of the traditional butter and hot sauce covered variety, but instead had a nice coating of spicy rub and were deep fried, crunchy and moist. I like this style of wing, but it's more difficult to get right because of the fine line between just-right crispy and crispy-but-dry, and there's no sauce to cover it up. Good job on those. The fries were excellent, hot, crisp and golden brown delicious.
Canada Steak Burger's prices range from $2.79 for a quarter pound burger to $14.99 for a porterhouse steak dinner. Most are in the $4 - $7 range. You can order ahead by phone, and there's a location in Chula Vista as well.
3604 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104
Hours: (both locations)
Sunday - Thursday: 10am-10pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am-11pm
Small lot in back, street parking.