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Talkin’ Turkey (Burgers, That Is)


Posted on May 19

If you’ve ever cooked turkey burgers, you know they’re blander than beef, calling for a creative use of seasonings and/or toppings. So who does the tastiest turkey burger around town? We tried five; here’s what we found.

Ken’s Big Daddy Burger from 33rd Sreet Bistro.
Ken’s Big Daddy Burger from 33rd Sreet Bistro. Photo by Gabriel Teague

The place: Burgers and Brew 403 Third St., Davis
Burger basics: 1/2-pound seasoned ground turkey breast on whole-wheat bun
Toppings, sides and $$: Roasted red pepper mayo, iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles; comes with fries or salad ($7.75)
In a sentence: It’s the nonturkey-burger eater’s turkey burger, char-grilled and resembling beef
In a word: Satisfying

The place: Ford’s Real Hamburgers 1948 Sutterville Road, Sacramento
Burger basics: Midsize patty on lightly toasted bun
Toppings, sides and $$: Shredded iceberg, red onion, tomato and Ford’s famous “real good sauce”: mayo, mustard, ketchup, honey and black pepper ($4.13)
In a sentence: A bland burger; Ford’s does much better with beef
In a word: Pedestrian

The place: Ikeda’s California Country Market 13500 Lincoln Way, Auburn
Burger basics: Smallish patty with “secret blend” of seasonings (a friend says it’s “Thanksgiving herbs,” but I’m not so sure) on toasted sesame-seed bun
Toppings, sides and $$: Green leaf lettuce, red onion, tomato, pickles and a tangy, mustard-forward “special” sauce ($4.99)
In a sentence: Decent burger, but it’s the country-style market that makes Ikeda’s worth the trip; be sure to try the housemade pie
In a word: Curious

The place: Roxy Restaurant and Bar 2381 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento
Burger basics: Plump, free-range patty on brioche-style bun
Toppings, sides and $$: Build your own burger (Thursday nights only) comes with butter lettuce, red onion, tomato, pickles, ketchup and mayo; add-ons available ($6.95)
In a sentence: BYOB makes it fun (I added sage mayo, caramelized onions and avocado); the burger literally drips with juice
In a word: Mouthwatering

The place: 33rd Street Bistro 3301 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
Burger basics: Ken’s Big Daddy Burger: generous patty, skillfully seasoned, on grilled ciabatta
Toppings, sides and $$: Melted Jack cheese, green goddess dressing and sprouts; served with skinny fries ($9.95)
In a sentence: Flavorful meat, zippy green goddess and sprouts kick this burger into culinary orbit
In a word: Outstanding

Lesson learned: If you want a turkey burger with some serious gastronomic muscle, head for a “real” restaurant—not a burger joint.