Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Best Burger in the 'Burbs
I like my burgers how I like my coffee: freshly ground.
No, I obviously haven't had every single burger in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia, so named for its perpetual car-park-style traffic). But I have had the best burgers Chicago has to offer (Edzo's and Au Cheval), and it is by those standards that I judge future burger greatness.
I bestow the honorific upon Red Apron Butcher, a boutique butcher shop located in the Mosaic Center in Merrifield, VA, for its attention to detail, simplicity, and quality meat. I apologize for the horrendous picture, but pictured above is their bacon burger ($10) made from ground beef and ground bacon. It's topped with boozy, beer-braised onions, American cheese, and the genius "island sauce". Though I kind of hate the name - "island sauce" conjures up images of crusty old salad dressing bottles loitering in the door of the fridge - it's actually a means of controlling the proportions of mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, and possibly onion for swift and exact burger dressing; one condiment that hits all necessary notes in one fell swoop. The bun is pillowy and yeasty and unlike any other. If I had one criticism it'd be a lack of texture; everything is decadently gooey.
Their Red Apron Original ($10) is topped with cheddar instead of American cheese. They let the cheese melt over the patty and begin to crisp up on the griddle, resulting in deliciously crunchy edges (no issue with texture in this burger). It's then topped with the same island sauce, shredded iceberg (more texture), onions, tomato, and pickles. All their meat is sourced "from animals that are sustainably raised, without antibiotics or horomones and certified humanely treated." I also assume that since they are a butcher that they grind their meat as as freshly as possible. No gimmicks. No fried eggs (as good as those may be).
You can order fries separately ($3) and while they don't showcase the creativity that the fries at Edzo's do, they are fried in aged beef fat .
If you think that $10 is too much for a burger sans frites, check out this blog on the argument for the $10 bowl of pho and make the appropriate transpositions.