The quest for decent lunch food near my office in Mission Valley continues apace.
Bestie Michaela suggested that we try this place and I remembered that it had been recommended by another friend several months prior. I think I may have stored it in a forgotten cavern of my psyche due to the fact that it's at Fashion Valley Mall. Crowds and insane parking lots full of SUV Monster Moms are not my jam. But, in desperation, we tried out this place anyways (because Michaela drove).
Stacked is a restaurant with a gimmick: you order via an iPad on the table and they highly encourage customization of your burger, sandwich, pizza, or mac-and-cheese. It's like a normal restaurant in every other way. A hostess seats you, you consult a menu, a waiter greets you and brings you everything, but you place your actual order on the iPad.
They're going for a retro 70s thing with the ambiance, which you would think would be relevant to my interests, but it's all a bit too polished and chainy for my to completely get into it. It feels retro in a different way... it harkens back to a time in the late 90s when ordering off a little screen at a chain restaurant would have seemed exciting and fresh.
In reality, it was kind of an isolating and antisocial experience to each sit there while the other person perfected their order. And, somehow, the food then took forever to come out. What is the point of an efficient robo-restaurant if it is not robotically efficient?
But I'm perhaps being a bit uncharitable here. Let's talk about the food, which we each tailored exactly to our specifications.
My creation: chicken breast sandwich on pretzel bun with Swiss cheese, mushrooms, carmelized onions, lettuce, and Stacked (R) sauce
The lettuce is swallowing the sandwich. Is this a casualty of the idea that every aspect of a sandwich carries equal weight?
Oh. There's the sandwich. Despite this, it was quite good though. Its a sandwich with exactly what I wanted on it. I'm going to call it the Deutschland Chicken Combo (Step 3: Profit!).
Sweet Potato Fries with Butternut Squash Aioli
The menu says that this sauce "turns sweet potato fries into pumpkin pie!" I don't know why I thought that was a good idea, since I actually just wanted sweet potato fries, not straight-up dessert. They were good fries though. A little on the sweet side, but very addicting.
Michaela's creation: Ghost Pepper Burger
Michaela enjoyed her burger as well. It was cooked nicely and was just spicy enough to please someone who loves spicy food as much as she does.
Crispy Thin Fries with Sriracha Aioli
These fries were also tasty. It's easy to make skinny fries taste like dried out oil husks, but these were actually crisp on the outside and still pleasantly potatoey in the middle. The Sriracha Aioli was a good accompaniment and I'd recommend it highly (though not with a sweet potato fry. That was a brief "what if it's so weird that it's good?" experiment gone bad.)
The one time that the iPad gimmick comes in handy is when you check out, because it gives you the option of splitting the check however you'd like.
Verdict: The gimmick doesn't work. It just doesn't. We will still probably suffer through it again just to satisfy very specific cravings though. When you see me there eating Mac and Cheese with Sriracha Aioli on it, just please look the other way.
Stacked: Food Well Built
Fashion Valley Mall
7007 Friars Road, Suite 356
San Diego, CA 92108