Spendy bites

Illustration by Mark Stivers

So fancy: It’s easily the most expensive burger in town.

Ella Dining Room & Bar’s regular $17 burger (with the egg add-on) was already among Sacramento’s spendiest. Now, Ella has beat itself. With a $26 burger. Called “The Twenty-Six Dollar Burger.”

It reads like a badge of honor, like Hubert Keller’s $5,000 burger in Las Vegas. Of course, that burger came with a $2,500 bottle of Bordeaux. That is beside the point.

The point is that Sacramento now has a $26 burger, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

The burger in question includes truffled short rib ragu, marrow butter and Mt. Tam triple cream brie—and heirloom tomato, caramelized onion and a buttermilk brioche bun, the more pedestrian necessities. It sounds crazy rich. And, OK, amazing. But also like I’d immediately fall asleep for three hours.

If your mouth is salivating right now, note that “The Twenty-Six Dollar Burger” is one of Ella’s September’s nose-to-tail specials. Act fast.

Also fancy: The Firehouse Restaurant has been a fine dining staple in Sacramento since 1960. And in 55 years of business, it never offered a happy hour menu.

Late last month, that changed—and the Firehouse’s happy hour menu is pretty bangin’. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, draft beer costs $3, well drinks $4 and martinis and glasses of wine $6. The menu of eight small plates includes a dozen oysters for $1 apiece; smoked beef tenderloin carpaccio with truffle oil for $6; and the popular $15 fresh fish lunch tacos, but for $8.

Less fancy: Listen up, Antelope sushi-lovers. You no longer have to drive far to quench your nigiri thirst. Aji Sushi (5239 Elkhorn Boulevard) opened last week, offering the usual long list of elaborate sushi rolls at a pretty reasonable price point. Most are $7-$11. Aji also offers a sure-to-be-popular all-you-can-eat menu ($13.95 at lunch, $19.95 at dinner), with rolls, nigiri, appetizers and desserts. Everything is made to order.

Another sushi spot opened in Elk Grove last week as well. Sushi Q (8325 Elk Grove Florin Road, Suite 400) feels more contemporary, serving a wider array of Japanese dishes and extra-thick sashimi. The sushi roll menu is similarly outrageous to Aji—and similarly priced—but goes even further by topping a roll with bacon. I kid you not. The Sacramento ($11) features shrimp tempura and spicy tuna, topped with unagi, avocado, bacon bits and sauces.