The Stag – Jucy Lucy Special (Calabrese)

So just to cut to the chase and answer the question you are all asking, the story is you get some meat – shape it into a pattie but keep it hollow in the middle – and then fill it with cheese (and other goodies) so that when it cooks its all melted and stuff. Genius! Or is it….

The Jucy Lucy – an institution of it’s own in the states, or so The Stag would have you believe – hails from Minneapolis, but I am not here to give you a history lesson. The Stags website has some of the background on this if you are really interested, but I suspect I know the answer to that already.

Given the concept of the Jucy Lucy is so different though, it was really hard to know just how this was going to go. The Stag do some really good food, no question, but is this just trying to over complicate something which should be, in its purist form, simplicity itself? One way or another, we were about to find out….

The Venue
The Stag, I am prepared to say, is a bit of an Adelaide icon. It has been here (almost) longer than the city has and continues to be a favourite meeting point for many people. A pub by day and a night club by evening, the attached restaurant bills itself as being ‘Adelaide’s Best Steak Pub’ and the ‘Worst Pub for Vegetarians’, neither of which I can categorically confirm or deny but it does seem to be largely on the mark.

Given their penchant for protein derived from the cow, it does seem like the logical place to be consuming a burger, so in the fine surrounds of their dining room we set about analysing our meals.

The Burger
Meat Pattie
The pattie itself was, well, huge. This is born from the very nature of the beast itself – you cannot have a stuffed pattie if it isn’t rounded in shape and voluminous in size. Upon cutting the burger open, largely out of curiosity, but also partly out of need to assist in the eating process, the filling oozed out lovingly onto the plate. And yes, I am happy with that choice of words for my description.

The flavour of the meat part of the pattie was excellent. It had a good beef flavour without much in the way of fill or distraction. There was good char on the outside adding to the flavour and it went very nicely with the fillings.

The only possible place for criticism lies in the density of the thing. It is pretty solid! Given the filled concept, in order to heat the internals it also has to be well done, and by the end of the burger this was becoming just a little dry. But, given it has to encase the goodies in the middle, this is obviously a requirement, and it really isn’t much of a drawback.

The Bun
It did a good job. A bit like Ed Cowan in the test matches – it held itself together while not being too flamboyant or getting in the way of the star of the show. Just a good tradesmen like effort, but nothing to be critical of in any way.

Fillings and Sauce
I went with the Calabrese which meant that my burger was filled with salami, cheese, olives, red onion and capsicum topped with a roasted tomato and garlic aoli. While this might seem like an odd concoction, given the concept overall I really wasn’t sure what to expect so decided to not ‘play it safe’ with a typical bacon and cheese or similar. There are 7 different options so you should be able to find something that appeals! The blue cheese version was extremely tempting I must admit….

The Calabrese filling was really tasty. The olive with the burger had concerned me in the lead up, but it really did work just fine as a whole. No other fillings were present other than a roasted tomato and garlic aioli. This was fantastic – incredible flavour, rich and plentiful, it helped out with the ‘dryness’ of the pattie and brought the whole thing together. Manu would be suitably pleased.

The chips were – in a word – perfect. Light and fluffy on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside, not overly salted and in good supply. The side salad was a welcome addition, consisting of merely mixed leaves with finely sliced red onion with a zesty little vinaigrette – it made for a refreshing, crisp side which balanced the whole thing very well.

$19.90 was the entry fee for the Jucy Lucy experience and given the sheer quantity of food, as well as the uniqueness of the offering and the quality of the results, represented more than acceptable value.

The Jucy Lucy is a really interesting idea and with the 7 options it just offers that intrigue as to how the other flavour combinations will work. To be serving up something a bit different in a world of ‘photocopied’ burgers is worthy of praise in itself. To produce something unique, in this range of options with their obvious quality, taste and value is something else. While it was not perfect, there was really no flaw with the execution at the same time.

Good food and excellent service in a wonderful location – for essentially $20 – this is just fine with me. Given they are on for a ‘limited’ time, I would highly recommend getting yourself down to the Stag on a Monday and sampling one before the offer is withdrawn.

Stay Tuned for another Jucy Lucy Review (The double bacon & Cheese) – coming up shortly!

Total 8.4
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