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Is a burger worth $18? That was the question I posed to my lunch companion, writer Abby Weingarten. We were relaxed, in a beautiful surrounding, sipping our fresh-brewed iced tea at a table filled with enormous, perfectly cooked, medium rare burgers at The Capital Grille at The Mall at University Town Center.

Abby’s feelings were pretty clear: When the burgers are served by a professional waiter with care, when the ambiance is just right and the quality is spot on, then the answer is yes, a burger most certainly is worth $18.

My answer was that I felt like I was having a spa lunch—I was totally relaxed, with the melted Havarti and Waygu beef massaging my taste buds . Capital Grille is expensive, that is clear ($40 is the average cost of a steak there at dinner), but fine-dining steakhouses mostly all are.

But back to my lunch with Abby. Feeling like we were in burger nirvana, we tucked in our cloth napkins and dove into our meal. I almost wished it was nighttime so I could have a bold Cabernet to go along with the meaty juiciness. This was lunch, however, and since my work days are long, I pretty much never drink before 5 or 6 p.m.

Each of the five burgers on the menu are served with a choice of Parmesan truffle fries, house-made chips or Capital Grille will substitute French green beans (all excellent). Abby’s favorites were the Kona-coffee-crusted Wagyu burger with shallot mayo, and the Capital Grille’s signature cheeseburger--a blend of chopped sirloin, smoked bacon, sweet onions and that wonderful melted Havarti (both $17).

My favorites were the wild mushroom Wagyu cheeseburger with 15-year aged balsamic and the Wagyu cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions. The egg was runny and so perfect on a buttery roll (both $18). Gorgonzola lovers will appreciate the tang and amount of cheese on the Gorgonzola and black truffle Wagyu burger--but it is a strong flavor.

There are other options on the menu (and you can read our full review here), but--dare I say it?--you would truly be missing out on a great, ooey-gooey, juice-running-down-your-chin gourmet burger if you chose otherwise.

Now we only need to find out if the Capital Grille will let us inside with our spa slippers and bathrobes on.

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