The Senor: DC Burger MatchoffPosted by Guillermo, "The Senor" - 29/07/10 at 11:07 am
Hey, CityGirls! One of my favorite things to do when I want to relax is to sit down and spend some quality time with a nice, juicy burger and fries. Surprisingly, I didn’t realize you ladies love burgers almost as much as I do…and I’ve really been impressed over the years by how much you girls enjoy fries…you see, we’ve got a lot in common!
Because of this mutual love, I decided one day to grab The Senora (who is a HUGE fan of burgers and fries) to go try out one of DC’s best burger spots. While we were eating we began talking about how fun it would be to compare the best burgers in the DC area in a blog entry. Genius, I know! And that’s how the CityGirls World DC Burger Matchoff series started. Each Burger Matchoff article will include four reviews of top DC area burger locales and how they stack up against each other. I will usually compare burgers that have no relation to each other (except that they taste good), and the fries that accompany them. My reviews will be random and will probably not follow any methodology, except that burgers, fries, and a coke will be involved. 5 Guys is a good burger place, but it is a step up from the normal fast food joints and is not a gourmet burger (yes, I’ve been to the original 5 Guys at Bailey’s Crossroads) and will not be part of the competition and the same goes for Fuddruckers. Are you ready? Because I’m ready to get started and make a mess!
For this first Burger Matchoff, I would like to now introduce the following competitors. Let’s get ready to do some serious eating!
- Straight out of Arlington, VA is Contestant #1. Ray’s Hell Burger, which first opened in July 2008, is regarded as one of the top, if not the best, burger spots in the DC area.
- Contestant #2 represents the Capitol Hill area and is Good Stuff Eatery led by Chef Spike of Top Chef Chicago fame.
- The darkhorse of the group is Contestant #3, which is Foggy Bottom’s own Founding Farmer’s (I know, no one expected FF to be in a burger competition), the most requested reservation in DC, according to opentable.com.
- Last, but certainly not least, is Contestant #4, which is Bourbon Steak of the Four Seasons (The Senora likes swanky) in Georgetown.
Ray’s Hell Burger
Ladies, Ray’s Hell Burger is regarded by many as the King of DC area burgers. I’ve eaten here a few times and have always regarded the B.I.G. Poppa (According to Ray’s, it’s an “Au Poivre burger with Black Peppercorn Crust, aged Danish Bleu Cheese, Cognac & Sherry sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions) as amazing. I took The Senora for her first visit and recommended the B.I.G. Poppa as she loves Bleu Cheese. I decided to get The New Jack Zing (Blackened Burger with Cajun spices and Pepper Jack Cheese) and we split an order of fries. To begin with, Ray’s burgers are BIG! They are also messy and have a tendency to fall apart. The Senora loved the B.I.G. Poppa, but it’s hard not to love a burger with Bleu Cheese. Succulent, juicy, and deeply satisfying was how I would describe the Poppa that The Senora didn’t finish. The New Jack Zing was a good burger, but couldn’t compare to the Poppa. The Senora wasn’t a fan of how the Poppa quickly fell apart and became messy, but I was there to finish it off. The fries were disappointing and not Robin to the Poppa’s Batman. I have a friend who swears Ray’s has the best burgers he has ever tasted and he might be right.
Good Stuff Eatery
On a rainy night, I met a friend at GSE for its Good Stuff Melt (melted Cheddar & Muenster caramelized onions and mushrooms with good stuff sauce—no idea what the “secret sauce” is) and Spike’s Village Snack Fry (topped with fresh thyme, rosemary, and sea salt). I was curious about GSE because it has received a lot of great reviews and I read many “this is the best burger in DC hands down” reviews on Yelp. I will say this, GSE is CROWDED and there is limited seating. We found a table and I munched down on a good burger with an okay bun. Good, but not great. GSE’s burgers remind me of 5 Guys. Both places are where you go when you’re in the area and want a good, better than fast food burger (like during a lunch hour), but not an amazing burger. My friend who is a big burger fan agreed with my sentiments. The fries, which GSE is well known for, were good, but not great.
Those that know me understand that FF is my favorite DC restaurant. It’s not a perfect place, but I’ve always had great food there from their Lobster Mac and Cheese to their amazing brunch, which has the best pancakes I’ve had outside of my mother’s. I never thought of getting a burger at FF, but one of the guys there told me I should give it a try when I told him I was going to be doing the Burger Matchoff (ok, maybe I spend a lot of time at FF—did I mention the tasty cocktails?). FF has the Frisco Burger (ground to order beef, avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and havarti cheese with louie dressing on FF’s daily fresh bun), and one reviewer on Yelp said it was better than Ray’s. The guy at FF said he felt their burger would surprise me and that he was game to tackle the DC area’s top burger places. I figured why not give it a try. The Frisco Burger was a good size burger and it was…delicious! The avocado was a nice taste, and the dressing was divine. The bread was truly fresh and overall the burger was tasty. The fries were terrific and I wanted more and so did The Senora who thought the burger was good, but who really loved the fries! Yet another reason to go to Founding Farmer’s, which always manages to surprise me.
My friend that went to GSE with me is way ahead of me on scouting burger places in DC, and she told me that Bourbon Steak (really?) had a burger better than Ray’s. Better than Ray’s!?! That’s quite a compliment and some would call that heresy. Bourbon Steak’s Oak-Fired Prime Steak Burger (pickles, balsamic onions, and Carr Valley Cheddar) can only be found on the bar menu and I was anxious to give it a taste. The Senora was with me and she was ready for a bite of my burger. We ordered some truffle fries to go with our meal and WOW! These fries are incredible, people! I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B-L-E! We chatted with the waitress and told her about the Matchoff and she said there was no doubt they would win. Those are big words I told her. The burger came and it was a tall burger that was not too wide. I took a bite and it was like being given a paid year off from work to do whatever you want. The Senora was a fan and I think she truly wanted to marry that burger and have little Oak-Fired Steak Burger Sliders with it. I was jealous. J
The Final Results
I ate four good to great to amazing burgers that were accompanied by some okay to incredible fries. The winner of this burger matchoff was actually very close and I was surprised as I thought it would be Ray’s. But, in the end, it was Bourbon Steak. Ray’s came in second and FF’s Frisco Burger was third (but the Frisco was better than Ray’s New Jack Zing) and GSE was not surprisingly last. Here are the final burger rankings:
1. Bourbon Steak
3. Founding Farmers
For French Fries, the ratings were:
1. Bourbon Steak
2. Founding Farmers
4. Ray’s (a distant fourth)
Well, ladies, I hope you enjoyed this article. Are you a burger fan? Have you been to any of these places? Got any suggestions on what places I should visit next?
Till the next time, CityGirls,