Juno’s Burger – Juno’s Kitchen and Delicatessen – Sacramento, CAOctober 16, 2012 • By Rodney
I originally heard about Juno’s from a flurry of Facebook posts from local foodie friends when they opened in October of 2011. All rave reviews and then Sacramento Bee reporter Blair Robertson penned a glowing First Impressions piece about the burger there, and I knew I had to give it a try. Located in East Sacramento, this quaint cafe is probably about the size of your first college dorm room, but the food quality is anything but sophomoric.
Run by Chef Mark Helms, this J street gem serves up some of the best dishes in the Sacramento area. The first time I went, I tried the Wagyu Burger and my wife had a Cabernet Salami sandwich and immediately we were enamored with the place. The food shines and every time we’ve returned to try a different dish (or experience a repeat performance of a few of our favorites), the service has been fun, and although there are only about 4 tables inside, there always seemed to be room for us. One time we dined there on Valentine’s day and just as we were about to take our food to go, they set us up at a cute table in their private back room.
Juno’s Kitchen serves several sandwiches, but just one burger. It used to be simply named “Wagyu Hamburger”, but they’ve since changed the beef used to Angus from Preferred Meats and now it’s just called “Burger”. Usually, I get a little worried when there’s little fanfare around the title or description of a burger on a menu, but since this burger came highly recommended, I didn’t give it a second thought.
I ordered my burger medium rare (as all great burgers should be cooked in this burgerjunkie’s opinion) and it came out nicely cooked. Maybe a little more medium than medium rare, but ask 10 people what the perfect medium rare burger looks like and you’re likely to get 10 different answers.
The burger was topped with caramelized onions, Manchego cheese, pickled cucumber, Heirloom tomato and “aioli”. The pickled cucumbers were crisp, the melted Manchego cheese was a little sweet and a little nutty which went nicely with the caramelized onions. Don’t let the plainly described “aioli” fool you though. This isn’t some tricked up mayo in aioli’s clothing, the aioli on the burger at Juno’s reigns supreme. There was such a melange of flavors going on in that aioli that it’s hard to describe it. It was not quite relish-y, definitely not mayo-y, and 100% crave-worthy. Anytime I’m on J street, I think about that aioli calling for me like Lionel Richie from the bottom of his heart.
The bun on this burger isn’t the traditional fluffy burger bun. It’s slightly crispy on the outside, but not too crunchy. The inside is soft with just the right amount of chew, but it’s somehow super thin. The beef on this cheeseburger was premium Wagyu from Preferred Meats and it had me convinced that every burger should be ground Wagyu. I’ve had Wagyu burgers from other restaurants and it is consistently one of my favorite food flavors to bite into.
Pound for pound, dollar for dollar, Juno’s is one of the best restaurants in Sacramento. I’ve tried their sandwiches, their pasta, (and of course their burgers) and every dish has been outstanding. Outstanding to the point where I wonder why there’s not a line around the block every time I go there. One unfortunate change has been the switch from Wagyu beef to Angus beef, but the burger’s brilliance still holds up as the Certified Angus is still a top quality breed for beef. Honestly, if you haven’t tried the food at Juno’s yet, you owe your mouth an apology.