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moroccan lamb burger
Photo: Lisa Cohen for CAFE del REY

Executive chef Daniel Roberts gives the all-American hamburger a Mediterranean makeover at CAFE del REY in Marina del Rey, California. At a glance, the burger does not look out-of-the-ordinary — the bun, lettuce, tomato and patty are all there — but this is merely a façade masking its exotic inner workings. First and most obviously, there’s ground lamb in place of beef. The lamb is mixed with sheep’s milk Manchego cheese and Harissa paste (made from hot chiles and garlic). This makes for a juicy, oozy and spicy burger.

As for that white sauce you may have mistaken for ordinary mayonnaise (delicious as that is), it’s actually a refreshing blend of yogurt, cucumbers, mint and cilantro, otherwise known as tzatziki — a cool counterpart to the rich flavors mingling beneath it. With one bite, the palm trees and waters seen out of CAFE del REY’s windows are starting to look less California and more Casablanca. And that’s why this is our Burger of the Week.


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