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Grass-Fed Burgers in DC?

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A friend of mine just got done reading "Eating Animals" and seeing "Food Inc" after my recommendation and is putting more thought in to the food she eats. I also prefer to eat grass-fed beef, but know it's not always available.

Where in DC can we find a great grass-fed burger? I also recall hearing about a a burger joint in MD that has organic, grass-fed beef. Am I just making this up?

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  1. I bet at so of the really nice restaurants there's a grass-fed option...maybe as a special. You can always go up to Blue Hill in NYC. :)

    5 Replies
    1. re: Jacey

      I would love to go to Blue Hill, but I'm pretty sure I can find a closer, cheaper option.

      1. re: Elyssa

        Elyssa: My folks took my sister to Blue Hill. Their report was less than enthusiastic given the price.

        That said, I think on the menu for the Richard Blais (sp?) place we're slated to get, there's a grass-fed burger. I don't know what the difference is between that and free range, but I also believe the sell grass-fed beef at the Dupont farmers market (or they did at U Street).

        It also might be worth asking (calling) Founding Farmers. Seems like a place that would have it. Also Firefly lists the sources of their meat, so that might be another place to ask.

        1. re: Jeserf

          Monday, Jane Black at WaPo had this on FF
          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/...

          Meyer Natural Angus is not grass fed. They were involved with a less than stellar abattoir/processor {one of the most heavily fined for improper practices including animal welfare issues}. They supplied corporate organic giant Whole Foods, I do not know one way or another if they still do. I used to use Meyer until their practices came to light. They also own Coleman brand all natural beef.

          1. re: deangold

            Good to know, sir!
            Even though I don't eat meat, I always like to know what is going on in that area since I do cook it for others, and have friends that eat it and are now more concerned about what they're buying

            1. re: deangold

              I was just going to site the Jane Black story...Dean beat me to it.

              Someone told me Commonwealth has a great grass fed burger with a brioche bun. Yum! Has anyone tried it?

              Also heard St. Ex has a grass-fed burger. Any reports?

      2. Commonwealth Gastropub in Columbia Heights serves them, and is otherwise a great place too. They're served on brioche buns and and come with UK-style chips. Best of all, and this is the part I'm going to delete in ten minutes, they just started serving them half-price on Wednesdays.

        1 Reply
        1. re: drsnacks

          Heads-up, it turns out the 1/2 priced burgers served aren't grass-fed (or served on brioches). I guess they still serve the grass-fed ones on Wednesdays for the full $11.

        2. I haven't been in a long long time, but as I remember the St. Ex burger was grass-fed.

          Is buffalo normally grass-fed? -- that would also open up options.

          1 Reply
          1. re: mselectra

            More or less what I've learned is if someone is actually going out of the way to serve grass-fed beef, they will put it on the menu (same goes for "special" chicken, veal etc). If it doesn't say grass-fed, don't assume it is.

            From what I recall, not all buffalo is grass-fed.

          2. Elevation Burger has all organic ingredients, and grass-fed beef. Also, the french fries are fried in olive oil. Yum.

            3 Replies
            1. re: anchor

              Yes Elevation Burger was the place I was thinking of in MD. It is in MD right??

              1. re: Elyssa

                I think there are multiple locations. I only know first-hand of the Falls Church location, which I think was the first.

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Right now there are two Elevation Burgers in VA, one in Falls Church near Lee Highway and Hillwood Avenue and the other in Arlington at Lee Highway and Harrison St. There's one at National Harbor, one in Baltimore, a bunch in other states, and a few "coming soon in 2010" in the DC area.

              2. Not that I can recommend it, but isn't Elevation Burger's beef from high-falutin' cattle that eat individually cut (in bite sized pieces, please) blades of grass hand fed by virgins, or something like that?

                At least that's what it says here: http://www.elevationburger.com/#ingre...

                I really wanted to like their burgers, but after trying a few times and finding the meat pretty tasteless and always overdone, I gave up. But it's grass-fed and pretty accessible.

                5 Replies
                1. re: MikeR

                  HAHA as a hippy dippy tofu eater, I'd love to see cows treated like that! Nice image, Mike!

                  1. re: Jeserf

                    No offense, but as someone who grew up on a beef and dairy farm, cows would be too dumb to notice that kind of treatment, and also they are skittish of people (beef cattle not milk that is) . As much as Elevation touts their horn about the superiority of their burgers, I thought they were just awful. I couldn't taste much difference between it and a McDonald's burger in all honesty. At the portions are terribly small for the price.

                    I believe Ray's gets their steaks locally. That means grassfed part of the year and hay (grass) and grain fed in the winter. Really the big worry is the amount of antibiotics given to cows and their treatment. Normally local beef that isn't given large amounts of antibiotics is just as good for you and the environment as grass fed beef from somewhere further away. Also as far as making differences go, one burger compared to where you buy your are buying your beef in whole is not that big of a deal. She should focus more on buying beef from either a local farmer or somewhere like the Organic Butcher that you can discuss the types of things being fed to the cattle, the medicine they are being given and the conditions they are raised in.

                    Often you can go in with people on portions of a cow raised in a way you want. Then you can also specify the cuts. But if you are worrying about treatment of the animal, often times going local in area like where we are will ensure that cows are being treated well. If you really are worried, you should go to a 4h sale at a fair, those cows are extremely spoiled and the money goes to support the kid who raised it.

                    1. re: ktmoomau

                      Yes, I wasn't encoraging Elyssa to get her grass-fed beef fix with an Elevation Burger. I wouldn't call it awful, but there's just no good reason to go out of your way and pay a premium price for it. And I was just kidding about the virgins. But I know that in Japan, cows are massaged by hand in the stall because there's not enough space for grazing for exercise, and they call it Kobe Beef.

                      I'm sure that to a beef expert, the difference in grass-fed cows is apparent and maybe even desirable. Me, I just like something that tastes like I think beef tastes and cooked lighter than medium-well.

                      1. re: ktmoomau

                        No offense taken, as it was hyperbole and humor in picturing any livestock being treated that way.

                        I don't really "worry" about the treatment of the animal if that was directed at me because I don't consume them (which IMO is the best treatment if I'm going to make that argument).

                        1. re: Jeserf

                          I just wanted to put it out there as I have figured out over the years a lot of people really don't know a lot about the whole process of raising cows, or they don't know much about cows themselves. You never know what assumptions are made. So I just wanted to add some information for anyone that wants it.

                  2. Martin's Tavern in Georgetown has buffalo burgers; I assume the buffalo munch on grass. They are quite tasty in any case (in general I'd say this is a place where the food has gotten significantly better in the last year or so)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: brianV

                      As I stated above...I wouldn't just assume that since something is buffalo that it is grass-fed. Cows by nature munch on grass as well but are often fed corn.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        There are buffalo feed lots. And that is where you get into corn fed more than anywhere else. It's all about size. This article has some information. If you google you can get more.
                        http://www.hcn.org/issues/194/10203

                    2. Poste Brasserie serves 8 oz. grass-fed burgers from EcoFriendly Farms (Bev Eggleston's mini empire). Don't expect the burger to be cheap. They should not be cheap. These aren't commodity cattle. You WILL taste the difference (i.e. clean, clear unabashedly beefy). You WILL feel the difference (i.e. no heavy, saturated fat, I'm going into food coma feeling.) Cheese is Cabot-clothbound Cheddar.

                      1. When I asked our server at Palena about the source of the meat that goes into the cheeseburger, she said that the beef is from Virginia and is grass fed. The meat is ground daily and includes steak trimmings as well as shoulder cuts.

                        1. I think that the 1/2 priced burgers at Commonwealth are now their grassfed ones, fyi. Also, can anyone confirm that the burgers at St. Ex are grassfed?