Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Good Stuff Eatery

Good Stuff opened on Capitol Hill last July and has gotten an inordinate amount of press for a burger joint thanks to its owner, the hat-wearing young chef Spike Mendelsohn (runner-up on Top Chef Chicago). With all of the hype, I expected to taste a burger the likes of which would inspire a Jimmy Buffett-style song. Solid burger? Yes. Paradise? Not quite.

Not Your Average Burger Joint

I loved the interior of Good Stuff. From the giant cow bell to the charging station for laptop-toting diners, it really felt like a neighborhood kind of place. They definitely try to take advantage of Spike's fame with an oversized picture of him as you enter and articles about him strewn about the walls. I found the set up of the counter area to be a bit backward though. You walk in the door to a crowd of people waiting for their food and have to walk past them to get to the cashier. After a few moments of awkward "did you already order or are you in line?" conversation, we got to the right place. You place your order with a cashier and are then given a vibrating buzzer that lets you know when your order is ready. A little bit more confusion was had when our buzzer went off because the shakes were ready, but not the food. A few minutes later the buzzer went off again for the burgers and fries. We stopped by the condiment bar and filled tiny plastic cups with interesting mayos (sriracha, old bay, and mango mayos are available) and ketchup, and then headed up the stairs to dine at the large farmhouse table.

Your Average Burgers?

I wanted to keep it simple so I ordered the Farmhouse Burger (Natural farm raised beef topped with tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, lettuce, pickles, and good stuff sauce served on a Pennsylvania Dutch bun). We shared an order of Village Fries (topped with fresh thyme, rosemary, and cracked pepper). To drink I had the toasted marshmallow milkshake, which I had been waiting for months to try.

The first thing that struck me about my burger was that it looked almost exactly like the Little Hamburger at Five Guys. It was about the same size (not large... I just compared it to something called the "little hamburger") and had the same wrinkly bun. Don't get me wrong, I love Five Guys, but I guess I expected to compare this burger experience to a gourmet burger place like Ray's Hell Burger (review) rather than a fast food joint (albeit a very good fast food joint). This burger outshone Five Guys in the taste department thanks to a hefty beef patty but it was nothing that caused me to break into song. The fries were flavorful but a little too fat for my taste. The star of my meal was that gorgeous marshmallow shake. I'd gladly suffer through its digestional havoc again in order to taste the creamy marshmallowy goodness.

The picture of B's burger below will quickly set apart our vegetarian readers from our meatatarian readers. To my veggie friends, stop reading now. To the meat lovers, see below.

B's burger was the Colletti's Smokehouse (Applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings, and chipotle bbq sauce). I didn't taste this coronary-on-a-bun so I'll let B do the honors.

Second Thoughts from B

Don't get us wrong, we very much enjoyed our trip to Good Stuff. You won't go wrong by going there and we'll certainly be back. However, I think that our expectations matched the considerable hype, which ultimately did us a disservice.

Yes, my burger was smaller than I expected and yes, the bun was somewhat underwhelming. However, there were a few things that did stand out. First, the BBQ sauce had a good, sharp bite to it and I appreciated that bold flavor. Second, this was a quality burger... as in meat. Sometimes when you get a burger that is covered in sauce and cheese and everything imaginable, the patty gets lost. The thing I appreciated the most was that the burger itself remained the foundation of every bite. It was thick and very flavorful.

I'm surprised that J didn't say more about the mayo bar. I thought very highly of the fries and the different dipping options. My particular favorite was the mango, which offered a nice counterpoint to the saltiness of the fries and spice of my burger's BBQ sauce. However, I loved the fries so much that I found myself not wanting to mess with perfection by dipping them in anything.
Good Stuff Eatery on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Vidda said...

Yep, who sat on the Smokehouse? For the full dining experience, everything needs to be perfect... and that wasn't even good. Good positive attitude in your description of the sauce and meat though :-)