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Best burger in D.C.?

jhfinxy Sep 29, 2008 10:30 PM

My friend and I have been recently inspired to find the best burger in D.C., so lay it on me!

  1. hill food Feb 11, 2010 01:22 AM

    if only we had White Castle...

    5 Replies
    1. re: hill food
      Dennis S Feb 11, 2010 04:05 AM

      I'd use my health insurance more...

      1. re: hill food
        monkeyrotica Feb 11, 2010 06:13 AM

        Or Krystals. Or Little Tavern. Sometimes you just want a bag of doughy little buns, grilled onions, and thin square patties. There's only so much seared ahi tuna and brioche you can take.

        1. re: monkeyrotica
          flavrmeistr Feb 11, 2010 09:22 AM

          Or In'n'Out, which is my all-time favorite chain burger and the main reason I can't move to California. Sometimes, though, a McDonald's hamburger hits the spot. Not a cheeseburger or a Big Mac or any of that other stuff. Just the plain old original with fries and a coke.

          1. re: flavrmeistr
            monkeyrotica Feb 12, 2010 05:47 AM

            Trapped in the snow at a mall, I tried Roys Bacon Double Cheeseburger. Not bad at all; nice beefy flavor and you can load up on toppings at the fixins bar. With a holster of fries, it really hit the spot.

            1. re: monkeyrotica
              flavrmeistr Feb 12, 2010 06:24 AM

              The longer I wait for the plow, the better it sounds.

      2. j
        jodik Jan 4, 2009 03:31 PM

        What about Elevation Burger in Falls Church.. Kobe beef and french fries in Olive Oil. I think they are pretty good... but, admittadly, I prefer 5 Guys for a burger in the 'fast food' vein.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jodik
          ktmoomau Jan 5, 2009 09:09 AM

          I went to Elevation Burger this past weekend with Fiance and his brother and we all agreed it was awful.

          The burgers are tiny, they remind me of a McDonald's burger in all realtiy with the squishy bun, small patty, american cheese and iceburg lettuce. The portions in general were tiny for the price. Fries were definitely only one order for the $2.39 or more maybe? The best thing there that we had was a milkshake. In all honestly it tasted amazingly like McDonald's to me, although I haven't been to McDonald's in years, I imagine they are very similar still.

          I just don't get why people would pay so much for a lousy burger that is so small and tasteless? You can't even request a temperature or a cheese. Five Guys burgers are much better and much less expensive. Elevation doesn't even come anywhere close to the sit down places like Rays my all time favorite, Cheeburger Cheeburger, Big Buns or etc, which really make it seem like a rip off portion and taste wise.

          If you want to know what a real beef burger is supposed to taste like go to Ray's.

          1. re: jodik
            DanielK Jan 5, 2009 10:15 AM

            Kobe? At Elevation? No.

            Organic, free-range, grass-fed, yes. But the patties are so damned small you can't taste the beef.

            1. re: DanielK
              bobovespa Jan 5, 2009 06:41 PM

              It's not new, and it's (an incredibly well-run) chain, but Houston's on Rockville Pike, and its relative the Woodmont Grill in Bethesda, make one consistent perfectly-cooked and juicy burger after another. At something like $13 with fries or another side dish, it definitely falls into the gourmet category though.

              I'm a Hell Burger fan, too, but Houston's is right up there with them. My best Houston's burger has been far better than my worst Hell Burger.

              1. re: bobovespa
                stever500 Feb 10, 2010 08:32 PM

                Don't go to Houston's on Rockville Pike though... Closed for good! The Woodmont Grill's veggie burger isn't that great, but their regular burger is good. My wife got gristle in hers once though and will never order one again there.

          2. m
            Midwestkid Jan 4, 2009 02:04 PM

            Ray's and Central for your prime, cooked-to-order, beef.

            Ray's is just good old fashioned beef. I assume they use trimmings from their steak joint for the beef.

            Central is more of an haute de cuisine burger. My only complaint is that you're forced to eat a lot of it with a fork because the juices (maybe my fault because I order it rare) soak through the bottom bun.

            Honorable Mention: Chef Geoff's and Smith & Wollinsky's.

            Five Guys for quality well-done fast food.

            1. d
              deangold Jan 3, 2009 02:52 PM

              Also Annies Paramount Steakhouse makes a great bruger. OK fries. Nothing else of note. Bad martinis.

              1 Reply
              1. re: deangold
                chicken kabob Jan 4, 2009 10:27 AM

                Yes to Matchbox mini burgers.....true goodness between a bun!

              2. j
                jodik Jan 3, 2009 02:28 PM

                I also really like Ray's Hellburger. More like a steak burger and great cheeses!

                I may be in the minority on here with this, but I really like Chadwick's burgers. They have a great charbroiled taste and the buns are squishy. They also have a 1/2 price burger night on Mondays.

                Matchbox mini-burgers are also on my list.

                1. c
                  caboosesw Oct 8, 2008 02:57 AM

                  I can tell you I wasn't overly impressed with BGR in Bethesda. Highly, highly reviewed ... while the patty was tasty it wasn't a $8 burger. I also haven't been overly impressed with Blacks in Bethesda ... another highly reviewed burger. Again, tasty but too "high end" for me and not worth the money.

                  Quit messing with a burger. Gimme a Five Guys or even a 1/3 pound Cheeburger.

                  The sweet potato fries are to die for though. Steer clear of the grilled cheese ... it ain't grilled ... it's just cheese on a potato roll.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: caboosesw
                    chicken kabob Oct 8, 2008 04:23 AM

                    I lOVE BGR (Burger Joint) in Bethesda!

                    1. re: caboosesw
                      aoakes4 Nov 4, 2008 10:02 AM

                      Just had my first burger at Bethesda's BGR -- very, very good -- and will be curious to compare to Ray's when we head over there this weekend. Yes, the sweet potato fries were delicious -- w/ just a little vinegar and ketchup.

                      1. re: aoakes4
                        MarcDC Nov 4, 2008 11:53 AM

                        BGR doesn't hold a candle to Ray's Hell Burger... just sayin

                        1. re: MarcDC
                          chicken kabob Nov 4, 2008 01:46 PM

                          AOKES- Glad you liked BGR Joint in Bethesda, too. I do not know what burger you ordered, but I have been very pleased w/ the bacon cheese burger & Greek burger.
                          And, yes, aren't the sweet potato fries good?!

                          1. re: chicken kabob
                            stever500 Nov 4, 2008 06:46 PM

                            I thought the fries were frozen out of a bag as they tasted awful. They confirmed, "frozen out of a bag". I thought... poor.

                            The veggie burger was just ok there at the Burger Joint in Bethesda. I said to myself as I left... never again would I go there due to the lame fries and the mediocre veggie burger. I've had great veggie burgers at other restaurants, this wasn't that great. Not bad, just not great.

                            For the prices they charge you'd think they'd hand cut their own fries like ... 5 guys!

                          2. re: MarcDC
                            aoakes4 Dec 30, 2008 10:45 AM

                            Just tried Ray's, MarcDC -- truly great. My son and I went over this afternoon, and the wait in a long line was worth it. I went very light on toppings so that I could savor the beef. Could not believe how juicy the burger was -- look forward to going back.

                            1. re: aoakes4
                              woodleyparkhound Jan 3, 2009 02:00 PM

                              I dearly love a good burger... I've been trying to work my way through a few places I've been reading about, here and elsewhere.

                              For fast food-type burgers, I love Z Burger (Tenleytown) and Five Guys (Dupont Circle and H St.). I'd give Z Burger the nod because they also serve wonderful double-chocolate shakes. I think their burgers are a shade better as well.

                              In the gourmet burger category (which I would define as a burger you can get cooked the way you prefer it to be cooked), my favorite so far, hands down, no close competition, is Ray's Hell Burger. I've only been once, but I've been dreaming about it ever since. Last time I got too many toppings -- I would especially avoid the mushrooms next time - they were good, but distracted from the taste of the burger itself, which is sublime. I got the mac and cheese, which I wouldn't get again (too soupy for me) and I got a root beer float, which was good, but too heavy to have with a 10 oz. burger. Next time I'll get my burger simple, with chips but only if I'm super hungry and a diet soda. The bun could be a bit better, but it's still the best burger in the area of those I've tried so far.

                              I went to The Burger Joint in Bethesda today for a cheeseburger and double chocolate shake, which set me back about $14, which I thought was rather high. The burger was good, but not $8 worth of good. The shake was very good, but at $5, too pricey. I totally agree with MarcDC above, "BGR doesn't hold a candle to Ray's".

                              I've had the Palena burger once. Good, but it didn't knock my socks off. What DID though was the fry plate, especially the fried lemons.

                              I've had the Sign of the Whale's burger. Good, but not good enough to cause my return, especially since it's next door to Malaysia Kopitiam, which always sucks me in when I'm around there.

                              The Good Stuff Eatery was OK, but rather disappointing. The burger was very small, and just OK. The D-Lechable Leche shake was sickeningly sweet.

                              Still on my list is the burger at Michel Richard's Central.

                              For me it's a lot about location, too. I find myself near Z Burger, 5 Guys, and the The Burger Joint pretty often. For Ray's a special trip is necessary, but it's a trip I'm happy to make!

                      2. d
                        dining with doc Oct 3, 2008 05:40 AM

                        Sunshine Burger @ The Sunshine Market off Georgia Avenue near Tridelphia Resevoir in Sunshine Maryland. Although you will be eating on circa 1960 laminate tables in a gas station/ bait store/ convienence store, the burgers are unbelievable. Even Martha Stewart sent her crew there for burgers when she was in the area. Crummy but pretty pretty good!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: dining with doc
                          flavrmeistr Oct 3, 2008 06:48 AM

                          Is this the place up near the crossroads of Georgia Avenue and New Hampshire Ave? The burgers are great, kind of like the old lunch counter variety cooked on the same grill with all the breakfast bacon and sausage. Definitely a throwback of several decades.

                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                            dining with doc Oct 17, 2008 09:04 AM

                            yes you got the right place. wear a bib!

                        2. inbox_blues Oct 2, 2008 11:42 AM

                          I had a great burger at MARVIN in dc. Great smokey flavor with apple wood bacon, a paper cone of hand-cut fries, and three dipping sauces, including an awesome curry.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: inbox_blues
                            monkeyrotica Oct 3, 2008 08:46 AM

                            For $15, I'd expect an awsome burger.

                          2. e
                            Elyssa Oct 2, 2008 07:00 AM

                            I stand by the burger at Palena. It's a burger dream between a well crafted bun :)

                            1. m
                              MacG467 Oct 1, 2008 08:48 PM

                              I'm a fan of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Fresh beef daily (like In-N-Out in Cali), and juicy, too. Their small fries aren't small; the cooks throw in extra fries after putting the cup in the bag.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: MacG467
                                Elyssa Oct 2, 2008 07:01 AM

                                I also really like 5 Guys for a true fast food burger. It's better then other burgers I've tried recently...although I have yet to taste Ray's.

                                1. re: Elyssa
                                  monkeyrotica Oct 3, 2008 08:50 AM

                                  5 Guys is still hit-or-miss. I've had a 50/50 success rate. The Old Town store is consistently good; the Howard U is consistently bad; the Navy Yard store is somewhere in between although, getting the fries out of the bag ASAP does cut down on the sogginess factor.

                                  Sign of the Whale's Ahab burger (bacon, blue cheese, mushroom gravy) is bulletproof; I've been having them for years and they're ALWAYS cooked to order. $7 with fries included and half price on mondays. Best burger deal downtown.

                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                    Elyssa Oct 3, 2008 10:02 AM

                                    I mostly go to the Dupont Circle 5 Guys and have found the burgers consistently good.

                              2. n
                                nbritton Oct 1, 2008 02:22 PM

                                The burger at Saint Ex is pretty damn good. Also decent, though not quite as good was Good Stuff Eatery.

                                1. scotcheroo Sep 30, 2008 10:53 AM

                                  So, flame away, but i stand by the burger at Charlie Palmers as the best in the city. Always perfectly cooked, with your choice of fancy cheese, on a buttery brioche-type bun. the fries there are also fantastic.

                                  1. c
                                    CoconutMilk Sep 30, 2008 07:00 AM

                                    If your including Arlington in your burger search, the answer to your question is undoubtedly Ray's Hell Burger in Rosslyn. Hands down the best in the area.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: CoconutMilk
                                      jaydreb Sep 30, 2008 07:14 AM

                                      +1. I recommend going at off-peak hours though as it can get very crowded.

                                      1. re: CoconutMilk
                                        sekelmaan Sep 30, 2008 07:49 AM

                                        I have been twice now and continually crave it for weekday lunches. This is a great burger at a great price, with wonderful artisan cheeses and a large selection of toppings. A lot of people are saying that it is "prime beef" (including this month's Washingtonian, who stated, "...the burger wars are over" for the second time), but on the sign in the restaurant it says nothing about prime beef, it states "select beef". I did not bother to ask, as the burger was so damn good it didn't really matter anyway.

                                        The Washingtonian also noted that Richard is opening a burger joint in the near future so maybe Landrum will have some competition, but at the moment it doesn't seem like there is any.

                                        1. re: sekelmaan
                                          daves_32 Oct 3, 2008 04:19 AM

                                          I had a burger last night at Ray's Hell Burger and it really was delicious. I did get it Au Poivre and it was really peppery. The peppercorn crust is quite thick and takes an enjoyment of pepper. Next time, I wouldn't get that on it because it overpowered the great taste of the meat. Also, the burger (10 oz) is HUGE and there is no need to get mac and cheese or another side. Last night, I had a mac and cheese craving and it was really good so i don't mind but i wouldn't get it again. My suggestion is similar to what I have seen from others on these boards... keep it simple. the sherry sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions are really good but they add their own flavors. The Heck sauce is very good but adds its own flavor. The garlic is good but also with its own distinctive flavor. If you keep it simple to enjoy uncluttered tastes, it may be about the best burger you have ever had!

                                          1. re: daves_32
                                            Ericandblueboy Oct 3, 2008 06:26 AM

                                            Get the foie gras topping.

                                      2. WhatsToEatBaltimore Sep 30, 2008 04:06 AM

                                        The post rated the Burger at Michel Richard's Central as the best burger in DC.
                                        I've had it. Very good

                                        1. RobertM Sep 30, 2008 02:58 AM


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