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Little Acorn is a bite of burger heaven

A while back I was interviewed on a local talk radio program. I was asked all sorts of questions about food and restaurants and all the stuff that goes with the job of reviewing. It was an interesting experience. Things went pretty smoothly, not many surprises.

But there was one. In the last few seconds of the taping, the host asked for my pick for the best hamburger in town. Well, I blanked. At the time I thought it was the most inane question, and shot him a contorted "What?!" expression across the table. I don't review many establishments that serve burgers. Of the places that I do go to on my own, for some reason no burgers were coming to mind. In desperation I blurted out "Chili's" (which I rarely go to). He chimed in for Hires Big H, which I quickly agreed was a good vote, trying to cover the embarrassing silence, and the interview pretty much ended there.

In the months since then, I've wondered about the answer to that question. Whose burger could I really endorse? Many of you have one of those classic drive-in burger joints in your neighborhood. Like Iceberg, or Millie's, or Dairy Keen. A place you've been going to for years that Wendy's and McDonald's can't hold a candle to. If you do, hurry. Write to me and tell me where you go. I'm always interested to hear.

A reader wrote in last week and told me about Little Acorn. It sounded like one such place. She described the homemade shakes. She talked about sandwiches with thick slices of homemade bread. And she mentioned something called the Shadowfighter.

The Shadowfighter (which perhaps refers to a term out of the science fiction TV series Babylon 5) is a burger. If I'd been to Little Acorn before that radio interview, I would have named the Shadowfighter as the best burger in town without hesitation. If you haven't been to Little Acorn, I'll tell you why it's worth trying.

First, it has two slices of homemade white bread that are grill-toasted. It comes with hefty helpings of onion, lettuce and tomato. It's dripping with sauces, and the burger is like a chopped sirloin steak.

The toasted bread is very tasty, and a welcome change to the delivery truck buns we're used to. It's as though Little Acorn fully thought they could get away with reinventing the wheel. Thing is, I think they have. I told my husband the Shadowfighter had pregnant-lady cravings written all over it (sometimes you must have what you MUST HAVE!).

The Shadowfighter costs $4.25.

The other menu items my reader friend mentioned were also good. I had the Oreo shake she recommended. It's stiff, like the best old-fashioned burger joint shakes. A shake costs $2.10.

I also tried a sandwich made with the homemade bread. It was too fat to be real. I took it apart and ate it open-faced. The turkey was the pressed kind. Not my favorite. Other than that it was loaded down and fresh tasting.

My son had a kid's plate with a corn dog, drink, fries and a treat. If the oil is just right and you know what you're doing, fried food can be a bit of heaven (even if your doctor doesn't share your view). The fries, oh man, are something else. Light, fat, fluffy, piping hot . . . mmm. Every time I stole a fry, Ethan would say, "That's OK, I'll share one more," so as not to let me forget his kindness.

Little Acorn is also Moshi Moshi. Half the menu is Japanese take-out, which I may try in a separate review. The dining room is huge and features decorative touches from both the hometown diner (note the kitschy cookie jars) and Asian themes. Little Acorn doesn't try to be all things, but it does do one thing famously, and that's burgers.

Little Acorn/Moshi Moshi

*** (out of five)

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday; closed Sunday

Location: 1025 W. North Temple

Phone: 524-9892

Payment: MasterCard, Visa, checks

Reservations: none needed