Cheeburger Math, Romano Diversifies, and Armenian with a Pedigree

Cheeburger Cheeburger (8390 S. Rainbow Blvd., 220-3912) is a Florida-based chain that allows customers to create their own burgers using a ladder-like series of options, much as Craftsteak in the MGM Grand does with main courses.

Start by choosing the size of your burger: the basic is 5½-ounce never-frozen Angus beef, and the largest is Our Famous Pounder. Good luck finishing that one. Then choose one of 10 cheese options and as many toppings as you wish from a list of 27, including quirky ones such as teriyaki sauce, Grey Poupon or pineapple. Fries and onion rings are cooked in 100 percent peanut oil, and there are malts and shakes as well—again, created by you. The permutations number in the millions, the menu claims 1,285,000.

Meanwhile, over at Chocolate & Spice (7293 W. Sahara Ave.), pastry and chocolate genius Megan Romano is about to celebrate her first anniversary. She’s expanded her menu to include a sashimi of tuna, a delectable Tuscan-style ham and white bean soup, and even tiny meatballs in a casserole dish, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese. I stopped by to taste them and they were all terrific, but what really sealed the deal were her homemade sorbet and the richest bundt cake—chocolate dripping with caramel—in creation.

Speaking of bakeries, if you haven’t tried the Armenian bakery Manan (6620 W. Flamingo Rd., 733-4000), you should. Naira Vardanyan makes amazing sweets with names like Ant’s Nest and Bird Milk, plus a variety of Armenian breads and stuffed pastries.

I’m mentioning it here because she insisted I try Shish Kabob House next door (643-5454), an Armenian restaurant that I might never have visited without a recommendation. And I loved the place. I ate chicken tabaka (flattened, crisped chicken), an extraordinary dish of spiced lamb chops, beef lula kabob, chicken kabob and lamb kabob, both accompanied by a green salad and a tasty rice pilaf.

There are appetizers such as the vegetarian stuffed grape leaves called sarma (long, cigar-shape cylinders of flavor), the Russian dish eggplant caviar (a sort of rough-and-tumble spicy eggplant dip) and the inevitable hummus, which isn’t bad here, but not the dish I’d order, since it doesn’t represent Armenian cooking.

If you are curious to taste wines from Armenia’s neighboring country, Georgia, this is one of the only places in town. Don’t try to pronounce the names: kindzmarauli is a spicy red, while khvanchkara is semi-sweet, with a strawberry-like character.

For dessert, order one of the best baklavas in the city—flaky, buttery and chock-full o’ nuts. It better be good. It comes from Ms. Vardanyan’s bakery next door.

Hungry, yet?

Follow Max Jacobson’s latest epicurean observations, reviews and tips at

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