A few weeks ago, when I was in NYC yet again, I had a mini pow wow of the burger brain trust with Robyn and Damon (the roving contributor of AHT). The destination of choice... Rub BBQ. The reason... the "Monte Cristo" burger that was being served as their weekly special on Monday, a sandwich consisting of a beef patty, layers of smoked barbecue turkey, more layers of barbecue ham, and Swiss cheese, all sandwiched between two thick pieces of French toast. Oh and you get raspberry preserve and some mustard to dip it in. Basically it's a heart attack layered with heart disease sandwiched inside another heart attack with some diabetes for you to dip it in. Sure it's bad for you, but do you care? It sounds delicious... unless you're vegetarian or something crazy like that... but I'm pretty sure only two vegetarian people read my blog, so we'll go on with the assumption that it is PILES OF DELICIOUS.
Piles of meat = piles of delicious. Because meat = delicious. Trust me, I'm an engineer... it checks out. This sandwich is exactly as advertised... a charred and smoky burger patty (which isn't cooked to order - everything comes out medium according to them) stacked with alternating layers of shredded ham and smoked turkey, all of which is tucked neatly in between two oily pieces of moist French Toast. Which is to say it is awesome. I ended up ignoring the mustard and slathering raspberry preserve over the entire thing, so it ended up tasting kind of like the Wawa Gobbler, meaty goodness interrupted by pockets of tart sweetness. The French toast was fantastically moist (yet light), the turkey and ham kind of melded into a glorious avian-bovine blend of meat, and the beef patty lent a certain smokiness to accent the overall flavor profile. This sandwich is borderline overwhelming (it was a fork and knife affair for me), but it works. like Robyn said in the AHT review - it's a mountain of meat - there is no reason why it should taste bad.
But this brings up the question, can you really call this a burger? This question actually really bothered me the entire time I was eating. To me... eating a burger should not involve utensils. It should be a beautiful construction of beef and bun such that my hands and mouth are the only things being utilized (yep, not even my brain).
Wiki seems to think so with its rather loose definition of ground meat inside of bread, but if you showed me a picture of the monstrosity known as the "Monte Cristo" burger, I'd call it a sandwich. A sandwich that happens to have ground beef inside. While I'm kind of sad I'll never get to have this meat-mountain sandwich ever again (it's not on their standard menu), I'm glad I no longer have to torture myself with thoughts on how to classify this... thing.