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Posted at 11:14 AM ET, 11/11/2011

BLT Steak’s burger caucus


The Perry burger at BLT steak features a chicken-fried patty. (Justin Rude/The Washington Post)

During the last couple of weeks, self-proclaimed politics junkie and Chef de Cuisine Victor Albisu has been rolling out a playful and politically-inspired menu of gourmet burgers at BLT Steak . A selection of about 20 headline-inspired specialty burgers rotate through 5 spots on the downtown steak house’s lunch menu.

While the burgers tend toward the tongue in cheek (the 99% Burger is an upscaled diner patty melt , while the 1% Burger contains a Kobe beef patty flecked with gold leaf and topped with foie gras), none of them are playing around when it comes to what’s on the plate. “These poke a little fun at D.C.,” Albisu explained, “but they’re serious. They’re all serious flavors. I really worked on each of them.”


BLT Steak chef Victor Albisu with one of his signature burger creations. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)
A political science major in college, Albisu takes his inspiration from the news of the day, meaning the current crop looks a lot like the lineup of the Republican presidential nomination debates.

Take the Romney, an angus burger topped with a Utah-style pastrami stack, melted American cheese and “fry sauce” (a concoction of mayonnaise and ketchup), or the Cain, which reads a little bit like a pizza burger with mozzarella and pepperoni-flavored mustard topping the patty. Rick Perry is well represented with a chicken fried, dry-aged burger patty drizzled with ranch dressing and steak sauce and topped with bacon.

These aren’t roadside burgers, and they don’t come at roadside prices. The hefty sandwiches mostly hover around $20 (yes, even the 99% Burger), with a few exceptions like the Bi Partisan (kobe beef topped with Maine lobster, white cheddar cheese and a black tuffle-buttermilk dressing) which goes for $34 and the aforementioned 1% Burger which is even more than that.

Price hasn’t seemed to discourage the crowd at BLT though. Before Albisu added the politically themed options to his menu, burgers accounted for a mere 8 percent of lunch orders. Now they represent almost a third of the restaurant’s midday sales.


BLT Steak’s $34 Bi Partisan Burger is an 8 oz ground Kobe patty topped with Maine lobster, white cheddar and black truffle dressing. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)


The Romney burger — this thing’s a beast. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)


The Herman Cain pizza burger: predictable concept, masterful execution. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)


The 99% Burger is an upscale version of a classic diner patty melt — though at $19.99 it might be a hard sell to the folks at McPherson Square. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)


The 1% Burger. Yes, those are flecks of gold leaf you are spying on that foie gras topped patty. (By Justin Rude/The Washington Post)

By  |  11:14 AM ET, 11/11/2011

 
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