Love it or loathe it, foie gras is back on the menu at several Fresno-area restaurants. A ban on the fatty duck or goose liver was overturned by a judge in January and has steadily been making its way back on local menus (for some, it may have never really left, despite the ban).
Guri’s GrubHouse began promoting what it calls “Fresno’s most luxurious burger” last week. The foie gras burger has a patty made with 50% ground chuck and 50% bacon topped with seared foie gras, apple butter and pickled red onions. It’s served on a brioche bun from Max’s Artisan Breads. It costs $24. The burger is in limited supply to ensure freshness of ingredients.
“It’s going to be ducking delicious,” Guri’s chef Megan Beck said in news release. The burger is her creation and Beck has been itching for the chance to work with foie gras after serving it regularly at her previous restaurant, Urban Solace in San Diego.
No discussion of foie gras would be complete without a description of what it actually is and the reason voters chose to ban it. The animals are force fed by sticking a long metal or plastic tube down their necks until their livers are engorged well beyond their normal size. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has long called it cruelty, though others – Serious Eats and chef Anthony Bourdain among them – contend it’s not as cruel as it’s made out to be.
A few other restaurants are featuring foie gras on their menus, too. It’s selling well at Jack & Charlie’s restaurant in Visalia where it’s served as a small plate appetizer with kumquats and port wine for $30.
Foie gras also shows up on the menu at Trelio in Clovis occasionally, says Chris Shackelford. When we talked about foie gras weeks ago after the judge’s ruling, he took a broad view of its taste and the surrounding opinions: “It’s absolutely fabulous. It really is, but that fabulous comes with political issues.”
You can also find it occasionally at Erna’s Elderberry House in Oakhurst. Though not on the menu regularly (and the menu there changes nightly), it does make appearances.