CheeseburgerBack in March, Washingtonian magazine ran an NCAA-style tournament pitting some of the top burgers in the area against one another.  Though the Burger Brackets had their share of detractors, they brought an interesting phenomenon to our attention: the popularity of Elevation Burger.

With their first location only open since 2005, you’d think a place like Elevation might make a decent showing…but they were giant-killers!  Good Stuff Eatery, Palena Cafe and Central were all defeated by Elevation Burger’s fiercely loyal supporters, who turned out in droves to vote (and to rave about everything from the burgers to the corporate ethos in their comments).  We were skeptical, but intrigued.

Elevation ExteriorFortunately, our restaurant break-up dragged out for as long as it did – a little over a month ago, one of the new Elevation Burger franchises opened up in the Lee-Harrison Plaza off of Lee Highway in Arlington.  We knew we had to give it a try to see how the organic, grass-fed burgers stacked up to some of our favorites.  Sure, we supported the concept…but how would all those slow-food-sounding words work in a fast-food environment?

Burgers, fries and a self-inflicted milkshake fail after the jump. (more…)

img_6237There are few celebrity chefs who can compete with Bobby Flay for sheer star power.  Whether he’s taking on a challenger on Iron Chef America, coming to town to challenge a local favorite in a Throwdown or simply serving upscale southwestern-influenced dishes at his restaurants across the country, he tends to command attention.

So when my family told us about his newest (and nearby) venture, Bobby’s Burger Palace, we were eager to check it out.  After all, Flay had won his ‘burger’ throwdown, and the menu suggested an approach to burgers that was reminiscent of Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery.  With extended family in tow, we made a pilgrimage to check out the Burger Palace only a week or so after it first opened in Monmouth.

img_6243We arrived at the Monmouth Mall and made our way around to the Palace, one of several freestanding restaurants situated around the mall itself.  I know, I know…we’re not really doing anything to combat Jersey stereotypes here, but what can you do?  We walked up to the door in the freezing cold of the evening – and found ourselves facing a line that snaked out the door.

But we would not be deterred.  We had been promised hot, juicy burgers with creative toppings and accompaniments, and damnit it we were going to have them!

More pictures of the space and our impressions of how well the host of Boy Meets Grill handles the heat after the jump. (more…)

In the world of DC dining, Burger is apparently the new Black.  No sooner did we get home from Good Stuff Eatery last night than Elizabeth and I learned that Michael Landrum – the chef responsible for DC steak greats Ray’s the Steaks and Ray’s the Classics – opened a burger joint just a few doors down from his original Ray’s The Steaks.  

Thinking ahead, we figured we’d swing by and take a few exterior pictures this evening and plot our visit in the coming days. We were expecting to see a line out the door, judging by the response Landrum’s announcement received throughout the DC blogosphere. 

What fools we were!  Like it was even remotely possible that we would park, walk up to Ray’s Hell-Burger, snap some photos and just leave?

As you might expect, we found ourselves drawn inside by the promise of juicy, delicious burgers and a line that was only three people deep when we arrived (though it grew considerably by the time we received our food and it remained busy throughout our meal).  Staycations be damned, the holiday weekend seems to have led enough people out of town to get us to the counter without too much delay.  What we found there after the jump. (more…)