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Best Burger in DC area

I vote for Palena, Matchbox Mini's, Tallula Mini's, 5 Guys, and Smith and Wo's. Anyone else have any suggestions?

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  1. Palena, Matchbox, Ugly Mug Mini's, The Reef Bison

    5 guys is just terrible.

    1. Can't remember the name, but the sports bar a couple doors down from Dino in Cleveland Park has great minis.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Meg

        Cleveland Park Bar and Grill?

        1. re: WashDC33

          Yep, that's the place. Terrific mini burgers...better than a Five Guys big burger IMO.

      2. I haven't lived in DC for a while but when I did, the Tune Inn burger was one of my faves.

        2 Replies
        1. re: bodie

          When you've had a few too many beers and are hungry, the Tune Inn burger is just about the best thing in the world.

          For a classier burger, you have to go a few doors down to Sonoma. An excellent upscale version.

          1. There is/was an Irish bar/restaurant across the street from the Uptown movie theater in DC that had one of the best burgers I've ever had. I don't recall the name of the restaurant.

            I also like the burgers at Foster's Grill as well, http://www.fostersgrille.com/home.html. I'm not a big fan of chains, but I do like the burgers at Red Robin and Fuddruckers. Red Robin has a burger with a fried egg on top and it goes back to one of my basic rules, almost anything tastes better with a fried egg on top.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rcheng

              You're thinking of Nanny O'Briens in Cleveland Park. Never tried the burgers.

              I tried the Red Robin near Dulles and don't see what the big deal is. Tasted like your typical frozen burger patty, but the bottomless fries were nice. Not worth going deaf from the kids and the televisions though.

            2. I haven't been there for quite some time, and I understand it's under new management, but they used to have really good burgers at the Sign of the Whale in Falls Church (Loehman's Plaza).

              3 Replies
              1. re: Gleason

                You know what kills me about Sign of the Whale? The burger is so darn good, but I always want a coke with my burger and the coke at Sign of the Whale is generic. That's right, they won't spring the extra 3 bucks for actual coke.

                1. re: jpschust

                  Haven't been to the Falls Church one, but the Sign of the Whale downtown still has the best burgers. And this is the key, they cook to order. I used to love Ugly Mug's miniburgers, but they're doing something different. The last batch was dry, overcooked, tasteless, and the buns were past buttery and in rancid-greasy territory.

                  The Stoneyburger is still good, too.

                  Nice try, but I'm not going to restart the 5 Guys argument thread again.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    I haven't been to the Mug in the last 4-5 months, so they may have changed something. The burger itself at sign is really great, just the coke bothers me :)

                    Any burger thread is bound to start the 5 guys thread :)

              2. Actually Annies Paramount Steakhouse in DC has a really good burger. Nothing much else charms....

                1. Nick's Chophouse in King Farm (Rockville). Best, unexpectedly amazing angus burger I've had in the area.

                  Smith and Wollensky isn't too bad either. I used to like Houston's and Harold Childe alot too.

                  1. Colorado Kitchen, served at Friday lunch. Unfortunately, the burger is eclipsed by the catfish.

                    1. the burgers at cafe st-ex are pretty money as well

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: elhofbergo

                        Yes, they are expensive, aren't they? For $11, they damn well better be good.


                      2. The one at the bar at Corduroy; Palena; Matchbox minis (medium rare only)

                        1. I'll go completely against the grain and say that I LOVE Five Guys.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: little audrey

                            I have to be honest...i don't get Five Guys....a mediocre burger at best....

                            1. re: woodsonjt

                              5 Guys has major expansion problems, i.e. if you aren't at the Beauregard and Rte 7 location or the Courthouse one, you will probably get a burger that isn't as good. The fries aren't as good as they were, probably never will be. But the good 5 Guys make a very good, bare bones burger. I have had relatives come in from Seattle and Denver and they were very impressed with 5 Guys.
                              Is it Rays Hellburger quality? No. But I have never eaten a burger as good as Rays anywhere else.
                              Rays Hellburger is the best there is.
                              And I have to admit, I still like a Fuddruckers Hamburger from time to time.

                          2. Fuddruckers. (ducks and covers)

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: zorn

                              I want to love Fuddrucker's, just because it's such a fine looking place and I like the way they operate, but the truth is that their food is just about as bad as any McDonald's, only without the flair.

                              Their burgers, when I've tried them, and I've tried them so many times, always hoping, are dreadful.

                              1. re: Atlantis

                                so unfair...and ridiculous...you can't compare Fuddrucker's to McDonalds. It illegitmizes your comments.

                              2. re: zorn

                                Fuddruckers, with those wonderful buns, was great back when you were allowed to have the patty pink inside rather than gray. Now ... that's a pretty thick piece of meat to have to eat well-done.

                                1. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

                                  (Hi, Bill!) Fuddruckers went through about a one year period when the weren't allowed to cook to order. Their business dropped off drastically, and several years ago they went back to producing rare and medium-rare right on-the-button. If the downtown locations are overcooking, they're simply screwing up.

                                  Other great burgers (fresh beef, charred/crusty outside, rare to medium-rare inside): Hamburger Hamlet, Chadwick's in Old Town, Ted's Montana Grill, Clyde's, District Chop House.

                                  Well-done shoe soles dripping with grease, likely to put you on the john in discomfort in two hours or less (as they did to me last week): Five Guys.

                                  1. re: pltrgyst

                                    Second Ted's Montana Grill. The bison burgers are large and beautifully prepared. I didn't care for the Onion Rings -- they are too big. I had the Americas Cup burger last night before a movie at the AMC Hoffmann, next door. Fantastic! The food is pretty well-priced, too. Drinks, dinner, and dessert for 3 was $93, including tax.

                                  2. re: Bill on Capitol Hill

                                    i routinely order a med-rare burger at Fuddrucker's and love it....

                                2. The Post Pub makes a great burger.

                                  Sign of the Whale is probably the standard to measure against. I ate there last week and it was still going strong regardless of management/turnover issues. Some guys at a table next to me even mentioned Dino.

                                  They were talking about the Flintstones however.

                                  1. The Elvis Burger at Jackies located in Silver Spring. After these you wont ever order the Mini burgers at Matchbox again.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: RobertM

                                      From the 'mileage may vary' files ... I tried these and didn't see what the big deal was. They had little flavor and were dry.

                                    2. Stoney's in DC

                                      Jimmy's in Herndon

                                      1. 5 guys really aren't good burgers, too overcooked for me, but their fries are great. I've had good burgers at Boulevard Woodgrill in Clarendon, Galaxy Burger in Arlington somewhere, and Houstons.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sixfive

                                          My experience has been almost the opposite. I've been getting more decent medium-rare burgers instead of well-dones, but the fries seem to have gotten even greasier.

                                        2. Well I looooove Five Guys. Very tasty burger. Some folks just can't stand seeing local success...

                                          As for other burger places with great burgers, it really depends on what you like in a burger. For a thick, juicy burger that focuses on _meat_, Old Ebbitt Grill is pretty tasty. For a peppery burger that is less about the meat, the Brickskeller's birckburger (with a little helping of Dave's Spicy mayo) is fantastic (although I wouldn't recommend much else off their menu). The miniburgers at Matchbox are very, but not as good as they used to be - I get them now more for the little onion strings that come with them then for the burgers themselves. And if I want just a fantastic take on a fast food style burger, then I am heading to Five Guys. 'Cause it's good meat, lots of good fixins, and it's the closest thing to a Fatburger on the east coast.

                                          Unfortunately, the best burger joint in spittin' distance (if you can spit from here to Dewey Beach) closed many, many years ago when Dewey Beach's Colonel Mustard's Phabulous Phatburgers shut down for what appear to have been tax related reasons. Ah well.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Ootek1

                                            I also LOVE Five Guys. Always hits the spot.

                                            I like Matchbox's minis, but feel that they rely heavily on excessive salt to bring out more flavor than the meat really has.

                                            1. re: Ootek1

                                              I think some folks can't stand seeing wildly inconsistent products and service being praised. But I'm glad your experience differs.


                                            2. Oh, there's a place in Fairlington with sliders that are good. Can't remember the name of the place. Anyone, anyone?

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Dennis S

                                                You thinking of Ramparts? Yeah, they're delightful, as is Ramparts, which is a really great place to hang out.


                                                The same folks own the place next door, too, which is wonderful - Simply Fish.


                                                By the way, Ramparts onion rings are divine!!!

                                                1. re: Atlantis

                                                  That's it. Thanks for assisting the ailing memory...

                                              2. Burgers are quite good at Quarry House in Silver Spring, Georgia & Bonifant. It's a wood-paneled downstairs joint, now owned by Jackie's. Reminds me of Jersey. They use organic beef & cook to order. (Medium really comes out medium.) My favorite topping is pepper jack.Tater tots are a bit of a bore but the beer selection is excellent.

                                                1. The burger at Black's in Bethesda is awesome, I love the touch of the picked red onions, subtle but i think it helps them go over the top. however, on the other side it is quite expensive at 11. I still love it and get it when its half off, I think 5.50 makes it worth the trip

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cleveland park

                                                    On the Black's meme, their sister restaurant, Black Market Bistro in Garrett Park, also does a great burger, plus you get to feel the ground rumble as the freights and MARC roll by.

                                                  2. One of my personal favorite places is Lindy's Red Lion in 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. It's been there for 25 years and there are numerous varieties to choose from (about 25). Also, the fries at Lindy's put the fries at 5 Guys to shame!

                                                    1. Z Burger of Tenlytown has the best burger in the District. The place prides itself on good service and since we’ve been going, it has not failed this expectation especially for a fast food spot. The milkshake list is massive and the onion rings are definitely something to talk about.

                                                      1. Has anyone mentioned Good Stuff Eatery in Capitol Hill? I think this place is divine, and the Toasted Marshmellow shake is wonderful.

                                                        All of their burgers are scrumptious, especially the Prez Obama burger with that sweet red onion marmalade.

                                                        Good Stuff Eatery
                                                        303 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Qrio82

                                                          Burger Joint in Bethesda!!!! Matchbox!!!

                                                          1. re: chicken kabob

                                                            I guess I'll have to try it out. A number of people referred to that place on here.

                                                          2. re: Qrio82

                                                            Yes. It is an overpriced, greasy burger, last time I checked. The marshmellow shake is good and the atmosphere is fun, but otherwise a stomach churner IMHO.

                                                            1. re: Qrio82

                                                              was planning on it....just tried it...Good Stuff is Spike's (from Top Chef) new restaurant. I think he has plans to expand throughout the DC area

                                                              great burger (yes a bit greasy...but greasy isn't always bad in a burger...he's definitely going for a specific style of burger)....and incredible fries....but "weird" presentation....they give you these trays...and then don't use them....they pack everything up in several layers of paper....bags....etc....so you have to unpack everything to place it on the plate before you can eat it....hard to describe....but it just didn't make sense and frustrated me....and the music was too loud to place the order....i ate outside

                                                              but at the end of the day....i can't wait to get back for another burger...it's the kind of burger that leaves a craving

                                                              1. re: woodsonjt

                                                                Tell me another product where very greasy is good. I suppose it is a personal preference, but highly greasy food dosen't taste too good going down, nor coming out (sorry is that is TMI)...

                                                            2. As "foodies" , how can you guys/gals truly enjoy Five Guys, Red Robin and Fuddruckers. All of those burgers are essentially over-salted chopped meat thrown on a griddle and fried. Yuk. I think the best burgers are grilled or cooked in a restaurant-quality broiler (ie. Rays Hell Burger). If you want a fried burger, you may as well go to McDonalds.....

                                                              8 Replies
                                                              1. re: ciaoda

                                                                Amen to that. I had a "pot roast" burger at Red Robin and all the gristle was still hanging there like an afterthought.

                                                                Just gross.

                                                                1. re: ciaoda

                                                                  Well, that's what a hamburger is - a way to make meat edible that you wouldn't ordinarily grill or roast. Chop it and put salt on it. If you want meat good enough to eat whole, chopped up, with fancy cheese or pate on it, there's Ray's.

                                                                  Now, mind you, I like a Ray's Hell Burger. But when I'm in the mood for a traditional burger like Joe at the lunch counter used to make, it's hard to beat 5 Guys.

                                                                  1. re: ciaoda

                                                                    Newsflash: all hamburgers are chopped (actually, almost universally ground) meat that is grilled or fried.

                                                                    Burger World is bigger than kobe beef burgers with truffles on top.

                                                                    Ray's is a great, great burger, no doubt: but your showing yourself a snob rather than one who is objectively grading taste, appearance, mouth-feel by dissing Fuddruckers, which is a good burger and a well prepared, hot Wendy's, McDonald's or Burger King.

                                                                    Yep, you can argue that they've got too much salt for your taste and you might be right. You can argue that it is nothing like Ray's, and you'd be right about that. And you'd certainly be right that they are widely available and nothing special because they are so ubiquitous. But you can't say they aren't tasty, widely liked (even by many chefs and food purveyors, believe it or not), and even more widely eaten.

                                                                    What next, are you going to say that Coca-Cola isn't a great carbonated beverage because you can buy it at any corner store (except Whole Paycheck)...

                                                                    1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                      I think the point is that places like fast food joints cant be as creative or put too much time and care into their product because they have to distribute in huge quanties. Sure it can be an enjoyable product (I fancy White Castle myself), but it is the same no matter where you go. No surprise, no wow, no bang.

                                                                      It's good because they are cheap and you know what to expect, just like putting on an old pair of shoes.

                                                                      1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                        My point is that if you took a McDonalds Quarter-pounder, dressed it up on buttered brioche (ala Fuddruckers) and added cheese, bacon, pickles, grilled onions, relish, lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms (ala Five Guys), it's all going to taste the same anyways. You're basically just covering up the taste of the meat....

                                                                        1. re: ciaoda

                                                                          LOL. You're just trying to be provocative.

                                                                        2. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                          Cleveland Dave- I concur with your 2nd statement, but I do love Burger Joint in Bethesda. Did you try the sweet potato fries or grilled corn on the cob?

                                                                          1. re: chicken kabob

                                                                            I've tried both. I don't know why more places don't have sweet potato fries. It is a great combo of sweet and salty with a bit of greasy goodness (if done right). From a business point of view they've got all the equipment already, it is high margin and year-round available. The corn on the cob was as you'd expect, but not great IMHO. I think fresh fruit in season (I believe Ray's does watermellon slices) is a great idea if they've got the volume and place to hold 'em.

                                                                            As far as the McD Quarter Pounder: I don't know-- does the Quarter Pounder taste the same as a Big Mac? I'll give you the meat tastes the same but they are different sandwiches on many levels. I believe Fuddruckers and Five Guys use different grinds than McDonalds, different proportions (fat content) and don't taste the same as McD or as each other.

                                                                            You're right about no surprises (unless it is your first time), but sometimes that is what you want! I guess my point is don't diss the chains, they do a good job for what they are, try them if you haven't done so (some say their favorite burger is, for example, a "fast food" In-And-Out burger) and consider them a "standard" to be judged against, particularly when you factor in price and convenience.

                                                                      2. IMO, the best high-end burger (and awesome fries) is Charlie Palmer steak. Nothing better with a glass of CA cabernet.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: scotcheroo

                                                                          I haven't done CP, but Counterburger does sell a few wines (and beers), and does have good fries, decent frickles, and really good onion straws.

                                                                        2. Ray's HellBurger always has my vote.

                                                                          1. I was just reading this thread and the one about experiences at the Burger Joint in Bethesda. Can anyone make a head-to-head comparison of: Burger Joint, Ray's Hell Burger, Z-burger, and maybe Palena? I've tried Matchbox (mini-burgers), Palena, and 5 Guys. Am curious about the others I mentioned above. Have yet to try them, and have read mixed reviews, especially about Burger Joint. Thanks!

                                                                            16 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Gigi007

                                                                              I have eaten at all of the places you mention, so I can offer my opinion.

                                                                              First of all Palena is not really in the same boat as the others. It's not a big, meaty, basic, backyard burger - it's a "gourmet" burger, and the toppings and bun are an integral part of the whole experience. It's an excellent burger, but I'd compare it to Central, not the other places you mention.

                                                                              I think Ray's Hell Burger is easily the best of the others. Thick burgers, excellent quality meat, prepared to order, and the price is right. I think BGR in Bethesda is also quite good, though not quite as good as Ray's (and a little pricier). I have read the same posts as you about inconsistency and service issues in both places, but have never experienced that myself after multiple visits.

                                                                              I didn't care for Z-burger, and think 5 Guys is nothing special.

                                                                              1. re: DanielK

                                                                                Thank you, DanielK. Your assessment is much appreciated. I too have tried Palena's burger, and think it's top quality. Haven't tried Central's, so have no way to compare.

                                                                                After reading your post, I definitely want to try Ray's Hell Burger, maybe BGR in Bethesda too.

                                                                                And I totally agree about 5 Guys not being special. In fact, I've found the burgers to be kind of greasy and I'm not fan of the fries or atmosphere either.

                                                                                Thanks again!

                                                                                1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                  The 5 Guys popularity on this board is inversely proportional to the # of franchises they've expanded to. When it was a small local chain, it was much higher regarded.

                                                                                  If Ray were to sell out, the same thing would happen to Hell Burger.

                                                                                  1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                    When you say Five Guys burger is nothing special, what are you comparing it to that's also "nothing special?" I prefer it to any of the fast food burgers if for no other reason that it's prepared fresh and I don't come out of the place smelling of frying oil. It's not a lot of meat, so it isn't going to do you a lot of harm (you'll probably get fatter from eating a Ray's burger), and even though it's no longer a local chain, the shops at least have a local feel. And while you don't have your choice of five different kinds of cheese (it's either with or without) there's a pretty good assortment of toppings. And the fries are either great or I take them back and ask for a fresh batch, which are great.

                                                                                    Would I take someone there for a gourmet burger meal? Nope. But I'd take an out-of-town visitor there who was in the mood for a burger but didn't want to go to McD's, and wasn't hungry enough to eat a Hell Burger.

                                                                                    By the way, I tried a Cowboy Cafe burger the other day and I was quite pleased. I think it may have been the first time that I ever took notice of the bun, which I thought added to the experience rather than just being a convenient handle for the meat.

                                                                                    1. re: MikeR

                                                                                      Yes, compared to McDonald's, 5 Guys is a treasure. Costs probably 2-3 times as much, though, right? Burger, side, and drink combo at Ray's is $10 at lunch. What is it at 5 Guys?

                                                                                      When there were just a couple of 5 Guys locations, they took care in making the burgers, didn't compress the meat, certainly didn't press down with the spatula, and would actually cook a burger medium-rare on request.

                                                                                      Now, they serve hockey pucks, though, as you point out, better hockey pucks than McDonald's.

                                                                                      1. re: DanielK

                                                                                        i think that is the point...it is NOT worth what it costs....


                                                                                        yep....5 guys has become a place to avoid for me..i actually prefer McD (which isn't saying much)

                                                                                        1. re: woodsonjt

                                                                                          Have you had one of the 1/3 pound burgers McDonald's is promoting now? Every other "fancy" burger I've had at McD's has just been more of the original. Nothing to get excited about. But I suppose that a new promotion sells another million burgers.

                                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                                            I've tried it. I think it is an attempt to get to the $5 average check they are always aspiring to... it is meant to compete with the angus burger at BK, though it tastes more like a big McDLT (if you remember that) to me. It's still very distinctively a McDonalds product, for better or worse.

                                                                                      2. re: MikeR

                                                                                        Well, this discussion is about the best burgers in the DC area. I personally find that the flavorful and high-quality burgers I've tried at Palena are not comparable to Five Guys burgers, for example. As Daniel K points out, compared to McDonald's, no doubt, Five Guys would be considered special. I have yet to try Ray's Hell Burger, but from what I've heard its burger is much better in terms of quality and taste than Five Guys. I myself have never been a fan of Five Guys' burgers as each time I've tried them I've found them to be greasy and not particularly flavorful. Can't say I like the fries either. To each his own, I guess.

                                                                                        1. re: Gigi007

                                                                                          It's really not possible to make a direct comparison. One really important difference for me is that when I'm going for a burger, it's always at lunch, and I'm almost always by myself. I can walk into any of the three Five Guys within ten minutes of my house, find a parking space right by the door, go up to the counter, place an order, find a table, and sit down. A single burger and enough fries for two or three people and a cup for water is right around $6 including tax, and the peanuts are free.

                                                                                          At Ray's, unless you go at an off hour, like maybe after 2:30 and before 4:00, parking is often tight, there's a line to order, and they tell you not to sit down at a table (maybe this is different in the new/old location) until you get your food. No fries. The meat-and-bread is definitely better than Five Guys.

                                                                                          I go to Ray's when I want a great burger, dammit, and I don't care what it involves. I go to Five Guys when I feel like a burger for lunch. I stop at McDonald's when I'm on the road and don't want to eat much. I'll usually get a yogurt parfait or a salad, not a burger, no matter how fancy a burger they advertise.

                                                                                          1. re: MikeR

                                                                                            I think there are four tiers:

                                                                                            Haute Burgers
                                                                                            Eat Bar

                                                                                            Gourmet burgers:
                                                                                            Good Stuff
                                                                                            Elevation Burger
                                                                                            Big Buns

                                                                                            Normal Burgers:
                                                                                            Big Buns
                                                                                            Cheeburger Cheeburger
                                                                                            Five Guys

                                                                                            Fast Food Burgers:
                                                                                            You know who you are.

                                                                                            Now those aren't in any order of preference, just my categories. Maybe one would have another category and put five guys and elevation below the category I have them in now, but I think there are different classes.

                                                                                            I don't know where you would put some places.

                                                                                            If you want the best burger Five Guys ain't it.

                                                                                            If you want a step above fast food I would go to Cheeburger Cheeburger or Big Buns but I do prefer Five Guys over Elevation or Fuddruckers. But I certainly think there are categories...

                                                                                            I still don't think Five Guys wins, but it is what it is, and it's good for what it is to some people- really good, OR else no one would want to franchise it...

                                                                                            1. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                              If you want to do it that way, here are my categories, and rankings within each:

                                                                                              Haute Burgers
                                                                                              1. Palena
                                                                                              2. Central

                                                                                              Normal burgers:
                                                                                              1. Ray's
                                                                                              2. BGR
                                                                                              3. Urban Burger
                                                                                              4. Big Buns
                                                                                              5. Cheeburger Cheeburger
                                                                                              6. Elevation
                                                                                              7. Good Stuff
                                                                                              8. Fuddruckers
                                                                                              9. Red Robin

                                                                                              Fast Food Burgers:
                                                                                              1. Five Guys
                                                                                              2. The rest tied

                                                                                              1. re: DanielK

                                                                                                DK - your categories are easier to fit in Counter - which would be near the top of the Normal range. But I don't think that's normal anymore for burgers in America from a restaurant - so I think KT's categories make more sense.

                                                                                                In her categories I don't know good stuff, but Counter is above Elevation easily, but not quite to Ray's - so I'd amend to add Counter to the top of Gourmet.

                                                                                              2. re: ktmoomau

                                                                                                What's "gourmet" about Elevation? That they use beef that's dry and fry their potatoes in olive oil? Maybe it's better for you, but it's not better for the burger.

                                                                                                I'd put Five Guys and Elevation in the same category, with Five Guys well above Elevation. I really wanted to like Elevation, but it doesn't do for me what I think a burger is supposed to do.

                                                                                                But I'd put both in a different category than the generic fast food burger. I like everything about the experience of going to Five Guys more than the experience of going to McDonald's, assuming I'm getting a burger at either place. It might not be the best, but it's better than the generic fast food, less expensive, more convenient, and less of a special occasion than the "haute burgers." I think that's worth something. I'm not going to drive 20 miles for a f^%#!*& hamburger, so until there's a BGR, a Good Stuff, a Palena, or a Cheeburger Cheeburger in my neighborhood, they're out of the running for me.

                                                                                                1. re: MikeR

                                                                                                  I actually meant to put elevation with Five Guys as I really don't like it and prefer Five Guys to it actually for a burger you can't request a temperature on, I will edit above. And rank them in my preference. Oh they changed the edit feature so you can't edit after time anymore oh well. But no, I don't consider Elevation Gourmet as there are limited toppings and no burger temp control.

                                                                                      3. re: DanielK

                                                                                        What do you think of the burger at BLT Steak?

                                                                                    2. My vote would be for Urban Burger in Silver Spring/Aspen Hill. Their burgers, imo, top Ray's Hell Burgers.

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: dbt

                                                                                        I have been disappointed recently with Ray's. The last three times, oddly all in the new spot, the burgers have been overcooked. I always order medium rare and have gotten medium twice and medium well once. I am going to have to try Urban Burger now.

                                                                                        1. re: sekelmaan

                                                                                          I've only tried Ray's at the "Classics" location. Don't get me wrong, it was good (though I agree overcooked), but I have just enjoyed Urban Burger more recently. Hope you enjoy it.

                                                                                          1. re: dbt

                                                                                            I don't think Ray's burgers at Classics are as good as at the "mothership" in Arlington, but either are still the tops in the area, IMHO.

                                                                                            That said, we were there tonight, and my wife had a burger (I couldn't resist the hanger). It was cooked to a perfect medium rare, as always. There seem to be a lot of reports about miscooked burgers, but it's never happened to me. And we go a LOT.

                                                                                            We also like Urban Burger, but they don't make their patties thick enough to do a truly rare burger, though they are tasty.

                                                                                            I guess burgers are something I won't drive across town for. If I'm in Silver Spring, RTC. Rockville, Urban. Bethesda - BGR. DC - Palena/Central. NoVa - Ray's.

                                                                                          2. re: sekelmaan

                                                                                            So, I just had lunch today at Ray's for the first time since the move to the new location, and had the same issue--my medium-rare came out well-done, and without the cheese that was ordered on it, to boot. It was as good as a well-done burger can be (especially after I slathered on some of the piranha sauce to add some moisture), but on the whole, very disappointing. That's always been my biggest complaint about Ray's--the doneness has been a little less reliable than I'd like--and it sounds like at the new location, that's just gotten worse. Which is a pity, as when they're on their game, they do make a good burger.

                                                                                              1. re: DanielK

                                                                                                I was there w/ someone else who got their burger at the same time, so I didn't want to wait for a new one to be made up while he was eating his. Especially since the place was a madhouse (moreso than at the old location, if that's possible) and I kind of just wanted to wrap up the meal and move on.

                                                                                        2. Apparently, not many folks here have tried the Au Poivre at Ray's, because there would simply be NO competition.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: biscuit

                                                                                            I've had all the styles at Ray's, but usually I order the basic grilled burger with white cheddar. The meat is so good, I don't want to hide the taste under strong-tasting toppings.

                                                                                            Though I will admit to occasionally topping the burger with the bone marrow when feeling indulgent. Wow...

                                                                                            1. re: DanielK

                                                                                              Cow bone marrow... please tell me the pleasure in it. It seems like very smooth tasting fat which dosen't do much for me. I understand that chicken bone marrow adds a lot of flavor to chicken soup and I can imagine beef marrow adding texture to a stew but I didn't really taste much the few times I've had it as a side....

                                                                                              1. re: ClevelandDave

                                                                                                It's very rich, adds to the beefiness of the burger, and adds another texture to the sandwich.

                                                                                              2. re: DanielK

                                                                                                I hear you, but in this case, the "Au Poivre" addition enhances the flavor of the meat.

                                                                                            2. Ray's Hellburger= amazing! Also amazing are the burgers at Quarry House in Silver Spring

                                                                                              1. oh- and how could i forget Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street

                                                                                                1. Ray's hell burger is opening in AdMo?

                                                                                                  According to Kristen Barden, executive director of the Adams Morgan Partnership, a new Ray’s Hell Burger will open in the coming months at 2465 18th St. NW in a building that formerly housed the Ghana Cafe, which did not renew its lease.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: WestIndianArchie

                                                                                                    City Paper's Young and Hungy says "No Deal" following a conversation with Landrum:

                                                                                                    I'm heading to Ray's in the mid-afternoon this week for the first time to check it out.
                                                                                                    I'm a die-hard burger-lover, so I'm expecting great things after hearing CH raves.

                                                                                                    My current fave is the Bison Burger at Granville Moore's, complete with the fabulous fries. Are those the best fries - oops, frites - in town?

                                                                                                  2. Good Stuff Eatery!!! on Pennsylvania Ave by the Capitol South Metro.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Juliette

                                                                                                      I'll say yuck and pricy again and leave it at that.

                                                                                                    2. i will add a couple of other places to the list
                                                                                                      1. Victoria Gastropub in columbia has a superb burger- the kobe beef burger with white truflle cheese, homemade pickles, on brioche...IMHO it deserves consideration as one of the best burgers on this planet. Team that with the poutine which is fries cooked in duck fat, served with duck gravey and duck confit and covered with melted guyere. the best
                                                                                                      2. Sunshine Burger: at the intersection of New Hampshire and Georgia in the northernmost Mont County is the Sunshine Market and its throwback 1 lb burger that is so good. Like a walk thru the past. get in line on the weekends but worth the wait
                                                                                                      3. Hamburger Hamlet: The granddaddy of a gourmet hamburger still can bring it and has a lot of choices to go with it. I like to sit in the bar at the Bethesda restaurant. It is like a sun room and very comfortable
                                                                                                      4. 5 Guys: Takes fast food burgers to the next level, has set the bar above what its competition can deliver
                                                                                                      5. BGR Joint: rapidly growing local chain that is on fire...interesting choices. good addition.
                                                                                                      6. DC Chophouse: underrated excellent burger goes well with equally underated french onion soup and a cold draft

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: dining with doc

                                                                                                        Since your going for upscale burgers, I enjoyed the burger at BLT Steak...have to try that Victoria Gastropub!

                                                                                                        1. re: dining with doc

                                                                                                          I've found the regular burger (non kobe) at Victoria Gastropub to be better than the kobe. I think that they might have higher turnover on the regular burger so it tends to be fresher. Totally agree on the poutine.

                                                                                                          Sunshine burger is worth going to just for the show especially at the price of about $5. Too bad they shut the grill down around 4:30 or whenever they feel like it.

                                                                                                          My favorite is still Central's. A masterpiece which I will enjoy yet again tomorrow night.

                                                                                                        2. I read/saw somewhere about a Kemble Park place supposedly having a good burger?