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DC's Best Burgers


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31 replies to this topic

#1 BigWyoming

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 07:58 AM

We all know 5 Guys is good when you just need to mainline some grease. But where do you go when you want to maybe sit and sip a glass of wine and tuck into a burger with toppings you have to sound out to pronounce correctly?

I had a great wagyu burger at Sonoma earlier this week with pancetta and gorgonzola and a tasty glass of Montepulciano to wash it down. This followed an almost as good, but slightly overdone, "natural beef" burger at the Belga cafe.

Where else can a burger lover expand his horizons in the D.C. area? I hear great things about the Colorado Kitchen, though I am a sworn enemy of all things Colorado. Any bars at the high end places have burgers that shouldn't be missed?

And, by the by, what's the deal with this wagyu beef? If it is supposedly as good as kobe, wouldn't it be a crime against nature to grind it like ground round?

Edited by BigWyoming, 22 September 2005 - 08:28 AM.

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#2 bilrus

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:19 AM

We all know 5 Guys is good when you just need to mainline some grease.  But where do you go when you want to maybe sit and sip a glass of wine and tuck into a burger with toppings you have to sound out to pronounce correctly? 

I had a great wagyu burger at Sonoma earlier this week with pancetta and gorgonzola and a tasty glass of Montepulciano to wash it down.  This followed an almost as good, but slightly overdone, "natural beef" burger at the Belga cafe. 

Where else can a burger lover expand his horizons in the D.C. area?  I hear great things about the Colorado Kitchen, though I am a sworn enemy of all things Colorado.  Any bars at the high end places have burgers that shouldn't be missed? 

And, by the by, what's the deal with this wagyu beef?  If it is supposedly as good as kobe, wouldn't it be a crime against nature to grind it like ground round?  And, for the perfect burger, wouldn't you want a higher fat content than something like that should provide?

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A lot of people swear by the burger at Palena, although I'm not a huge fan.

I do however like the burger at Morton's. And I haven't been since the kitchen shake up a while back, but I have scarfed many a mini-burger at Matchbox, despite their ubiquitousness.
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#3 Busboy

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 08:34 AM

I agree with Bilrus that I haven't been blown away by the burger at Palena. I actually thing that their meat is too high-quality, ie, too low-fat. I don't know if it costs more than $10 but Old Ebbit can put out a decent patty and offer several manly reds to match, and the Palm burger is no slouch, either, especially if served with Palm Fries.
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#4 jm chen

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 01:58 PM

I really enjoy the burger at Palena, but it's small and tidy. If you want something bigger and sloppier yet still upscale, Firefly does a fine, fine job with theirs.
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#5 Malawry

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 02:17 PM

I keep wondering when somebody's gonna do a knockoff of Daniel Boulud's foie gras-stuffed burger somewhere around DC. Or did this already happen somewhere and I missed it? I did sample such a burger in Hilton Head, SC of all places back at the beginning of the summer.

Palena's burger is a favorite of mine, especially because of the roll, but it's not for everybody. Has anybody had a burger at CP Steak? (I thought I saw one on their lunch menu...)

#6 monavano

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 02:20 PM

Old Ebbitt's got my vote. And, they ain't no sissies there. You want it rare? You got it. :wub:

#7 bilrus

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 02:56 PM

I do however like the burger at Morton's. 

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Let me amend that. This thread prompted me to go to Morton's for lunch and it was disappointing.

The burger was dense, where previously it was loosely packed. It was a shade over cooked where previously it was a shade under cooked. It was darn near flavorless where before it tasted like a good steak.

But the oh so thin fries were still very good.
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#8 mnebergall

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 11:22 AM

Either the tuna burger or the lobster burger (when available) at Citronelle are hard to beat.

#9 Busboy

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 12:00 PM

Now you're just playing lawyer games. :laugh: The tunaburgers, lobersterburgers and (on the west coast) salmonburgers of the world are no more true burgers than sweetbreads are bread or fennel confit is a true confit.

Not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you....
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#10 squids

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 06:55 PM

Both Smith & Wollensky and Sam & Harry's do a fine burger...a co-worker and I will sometimes splurge and split a burger for carry-out. (They're pretty huge!) I do prefer S&H to S&W, but usually go to S&W because it's less of a walk from my office when I'm short on time for lunch.

Edited by squids, 24 September 2005 - 06:55 PM.


#11 foodgeek

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 10:00 AM

I thought that the actual burger patty at Harry's Taproom was excellent, but the fixins were cut too thick and the bun was soggy, so it was a waste.
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#12 mnebergall

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 08:21 AM

Now you're just playing lawyer games.  :laugh: The tunaburgers, lobersterburgers and (on the west coast) salmonburgers of the world are no more true burgers than sweetbreads are bread or fennel confit is a true confit.

Not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you....

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Hey, the thread said "burgers" and also "fancy." How muchh more fancy can a burger get when it has no beef in it. Would a "bison" or "venison" burger not count as well?

#13 Chef Shogun

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:28 AM

Now you're just playing lawyer games.  :laugh: The tunaburgers, lobersterburgers and (on the west coast) salmonburgers of the world are no more true burgers than sweetbreads are bread or fennel confit is a true confit.

Not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you....

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Hey, the thread said "burgers" and also "fancy." How muchh more fancy can a burger get when it has no beef in it. Would a "bison" or "venison" burger not count as well?

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I find Mr. Nebergall's argument...delicious!
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#14 Busboy

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:46 AM

Now you're just playing lawyer games.   :laugh: The tunaburgers, lobersterburgers and (on the west coast) salmonburgers of the world are no more true burgers than sweetbreads are bread or fennel confit is a true confit.

Not that there's anything wrong with them, mind you....

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Hey, the thread said "burgers" and also "fancy." How muchh more fancy can a burger get when it has no beef in it. Would a "bison" or "venison" burger not count as well?

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I find in favor of the bison-burger, and that the law includes a penumbra covering bison, water-buffalo, yaks, the lesser kudu, musk oxen and all other members of the family bovinae, resulting in their legal an proper inclusion in discussions of hamburger.

Venison, being a byproduct of the family cervidae, cannot therefore legally be the primary ingredient of a "hamburger." The court further rules that it's probably too lean, anyway.

The court also finds that the term "'burger", unless properly appended with a prefix indicating the non-bovine nature of the burger in question, refers to a hamburger prepared with the support of aforementioned bovinae.

Finally, the court also checked in at Old Ebbit Saturday night and found that the burger remains, indeed, quite tasty, especially with blue cheese and bacon.
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#15 saycheese

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 03:15 PM

David Greggory has good burgers with especially good bacon. I think I had a good burger at Poste, although I am remembering the fries more vividly than the burger. The burger at Sonoma is indeed quite good. Mark & Orlando's was also good. I like the burger at Palena, but wish the fry plate came with, instead of being an extra $9.

#16 Busboy

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 10:19 AM

The blogsite Gridskipper (which I've never heard of until now) has had the gall to publish it's list of DC's Best Burgers without consulting me. No wonder they they included the overrated Palena burger (doomed by too-lean meat; burgers should not be health food) and the gimmicky mini-burgers at Matchbox and every other bar in the metro area. In addition, no human in the history of The Sign of The Whale has ever eaten a burger there and not been paying more attention to the quality of their buzz or the cutie at the end of the bar, so any praise is suspect. And Five Guys just sucks. These people are living in the 90s.

Worse, they dissed the $18 burger at Central (I haven't eaten it, but it Cannot be Ignored) and the excellent smoked-bacon-cheeseburger at the riotously cool -- if too often underpopulated -- Temperance Hall. Also Clyde's on a good day.

Anybody else got any shout-outs or put-downs?
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#17 takomabaker

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 10:39 AM

Burgers are so subjective and people are so passionate about their viewpoint, that giving an opinion is risky business. But here goes....

I like Mr. Henry's. I love the Blue Burger (with fried onions), the Bacon Cheeseburger, the 'shroom burger, and even the turkey burger. They also have great fries, which I wish you didn't have to order as a separate side order.

I try to NOT order them on Mondays, when they have their half price burger special. I don't think they are as good when they are serving burgers at the same rate of McDonalds.

But I also like Five Guys. On a recent visit to my in-laws' house in Queens, we found that they had expanded to NYC -- a few blocks from my in-laws' house. We stopped by for some burgers and fries for lunch, and I was sharing a table with 5 very happy New Yorkers who's usual opinion is that nothing coming from outside the five boroughs is worth consuming.

#18 Busboy

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 08:48 AM

Am I the only one who thinks once burgers get over six ounces, they're just unwieldy?

Anyway, the Washington Post Food Section analyzed a baker's dozen of DC burgers for our edification here.

Ranked in order:

Central
Palena
EatBar (Arlington)
BLT Steak
Charlie Palmer Steak
Morton's
Black's Bar and Kitchen (Bethesda)
Sonoma
Ardeo
DC Coast
Capitol Grill
Vermilion
Les Halles
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#19 Malawry

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Posted 26 September 2007 - 02:55 PM

I had the opportunity to check out Urban Burger recently, and it was a pretty good piece of beef--juicy and genuinely beef-y tasting. It's way off the Pike in Rockville. Not sure it's a "special trip" burger, but if you're already in Rockville then it's definitely worth checking out.

#20 PBHokie

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Posted 23 June 2008 - 11:01 AM

Not much on the high end burgers but if you're in Bethesda and like 5 Guys, give Crossfire a try. They're pretty good!! Old Georgetown across from Safeway.
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#21 chiantiglace

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 12:03 AM

Have you had the mini burgers at The Source?
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#22 dinwiddie

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:20 AM

I had the opportunity to check out Urban Burger recently, and it was a pretty good piece of beef--juicy and genuinely beef-y tasting. It's way off the Pike in Rockville. Not sure it's a "special trip" burger, but if you're already in Rockville then it's definitely worth checking out.

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One of the best things about Urban Burger is that they will cook your burger the way you want it. Like it really rare, that is how you will get it. Want it charred to a crisp, they may wince, but it will come out charred to a crisp.

#23 brioboy

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 10:52 AM

Bourbon - I don't eat a lot of burgers but I thnk this should be on the list of contenders. Topped with carmelized onions, on a bun that doesn't take itself too seriously and with a small silver cup (a la Blue Duck) side of duck-fat fries. Wonderful bar staff too.
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#24 lukestar

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:03 PM

Bourbon - I don't eat a lot of burgers but I thnk this should be on the list of contenders.  Topped with carmelized onions, on a bun that doesn't take itself too seriously and with a small silver cup (a la Blue Duck) side of duck-fat fries.  Wonderful bar staff too.

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I have been to DC a few times and will be going back in about a week. Although I have not been to a lot of DC restaurants I have to give my vote to Capitol Grill for a very good burger. I plan on hitting them next week...

#25 Busboy

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 04:34 PM

The new burger at Vidalia. Best in Town.

Or the not quite as new burger at Ray's Hellburger. The other Best in Town.
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#26 GPStu

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 02:08 PM

For a really nice comfortable place, try the Commissary near the corner of P St, NW and 14th- across from Wholefoods. I found the hamburg meat extremely succulent and tasty, and we have gone back just for the burger around 5 times. I frequently grind my own hamburg, and found this one extremely tasty. It makes no gourmet pretenses. The restaurant is a pleasant neighborhood place with a very nice contemporary menu.

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#27 Peter the eater

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 04:29 PM

Has anyone found a good Obama Burger? I saw one at Dulles that looked promising.
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#28 Busboy

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 06:01 PM

I don't know if Spike is still selling them but the Obama Burger referred to in your original thread was being served at Spike's the Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill.

Whether it's a Best in Town contender I can't say, but some have suggested that spikebrgers are in the running.

Also, one must remember Palena, which I find dry, but is worth eating because if you hate it you can fill up with some of the best cooking in town (bar/cafe only) and Miche Richard's Central which used to be the best before Hellburger was the best before Vidalia was the best.
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#29 Busboy

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:20 AM

Indeed, the Obama Burger remains on the menu.
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#30 Busboy

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 12:00 PM

It should be noted that, while Good Stuff Serves an Obama Burger, Michael Landrum serves burgers to Obama at Ray's Hell Burger.

The crowd at Ray's was reportedly (and understandably) flipping out over the surprise executive branch visit. The official White House pool report from the event offers some fun details, including that Obama treated a few reporters to burgers (they're making donations to charity to balance it out, they claim). More from the pool report:

    "While Obama and Biden waited in line, the lunch crowd stood and gawked, some took pix with cell phones. The two guys in line ahead of them studied their menus, oblivious to who was behind them.

    When Obama and Biden reached the front, Obama greeted the two order-takers. The guy who took Obama's order and money was Tim Murray. There's still some debate among press on exactly what Obama ordered, since it was hard to hear. He definitely had a burger. I heard him say "basic cheeseburger, medium well." But someone else heard him say "Swiss mushroom burger." He definitely asked Mr. Murray for "spicy mustard, if you have it." There may have also been talk of tater tots."


Nice eating this week: Michelle Richard Citronelle and Ray's Hell. I think the Prez needs to start posting.

Edited by Busboy, 05 May 2009 - 12:05 PM.

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