Monday, April 29, 2013

Lunch | Good Stuff Eatery

Over the past weekend, Marcus and I made our way down to Washington D.C. to celebrate our anniversary. Not arriving to Union Station until late afternoon (many hours after lunchtime), we were beyond starving and hurried over to Capitol Hill for some burgers at Good Stuff Eatery after checking in with our Airbnb host (which I highly recommend doing for multi-day stays!).

Good Stuff Eatery first opened in 2008 by Chef Cathy Mendelsohn and her son, Chef Spike Mendelsohn (of Top Chef fame!) over on Capital Hill, with a subsequent location opened later in Arlington as well as upcoming locations in Georgetown and Philadelphia this year!

Love this cowbell fixture near the entrance of Good Stuff Eatery!

Following suit with its locale of neighborhood, there's cheeky little decorations like this one throughout the space. Gotta love puns!

The mother and son team were inspired by a vision for "a place where people can enjoy the nostalgia of eating the best of their American favorites" -- handcrafted burgers, handcut fries, handspun shakes, and farm fresh salads made with the highest quality ingredients from local suppliers. The restaurant is also constructed almost entirely of recycled materials.

Along with this, Good Stuff Eatery strives for "sustainability in all of its business practices" as every business decision is made with its environmental impact in mind. Every effort is made to recycle all waste from the restaurant, spanning from the delivery boxes and the oil from fryers.

Goodness gracious, indeed!

While patrons can place their orders on the main floor, where limited counter seating is available, the upstairs portion of Good Stuff Eatery has a lot more seating, including this communal table.

Along with the wide varieties of burgers offered at Good Stuff, it also has for its patrons a condiment bar, which is mostly comprised of different mayonnaises including mango, Old Bay, sriracha, and chipotle varieties. We opted for the traditional ketchup and mustard along with some mango mayonnaise.

Marcus had the Farmhouse Bacon Cheese burger, served with Applewood bacon, American cheese, and lettuce. We also shared a side of Sunny's handcut fries sprinkled generously with sea salt. First off, I would just like to say that I love the size of these burgers -- they're slightly bigger than a typical slider, which makes it the perfect portion for lunch or one to be split with a friend as a snack. Plus, there's no issue with trying to figure out how to eat the burger -- it doesn't stack up super high nor does it have a difficult-to-conquer circumference. As for the Farmhouse Bacon Cheese, the bacon was crispy and savory and melded well with rest of the standard burger accoutrement. The patty was cooked to an ideal temperature -- somewhere in the medium region -- where it was juicy on the inside without spewing out with meat juices and oil. Whatever blend of beef is used at Good Stuff Eatery, I now want that blend for all my burgers. And the icing on the cake was the bun -- well buttered and toasted/grilled to a warm yet soft delectableness that made every bite into the burger so glorious.

The handcut fries were great -- such a refreshing contrast to the usual frozen shoestrings we're used to -- as they were fried to a lovely browned crisp without being at all oily. They went surprisingly well with the mango mayonnaise -- the tangy flavor was very interesting against the delicate starchiness of the fries.

I opted for the Steakhouse burger with roasted cremini mushrooms, onion straws, Emmental Swiss cheese, and tangy steakhouse mayonnaise. With the same basic characteristics of Marcus's burger (delicious blend of beef, well-toasted bun, ideal portion size), the Steakhouse burger was fantastic, too. I love me a really good mushroom-and-swiss burger, and this one is undoubtedly a list-topper, especially with the pleasant addition of onion straws, which not only added a nice flavor to the burger but another textural dimension as well. Even with all of the condiments and toppings on this burger, the super soft bun (mine with sesame seeds!) was strong enough to withstand it all without becoming soggy -- the meat-to-bun-to-condiment ratio (as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory postulates here at 1:14) is, simply put, just very satisfying.

Findings: Marcus and I left Good Stuff Eatery quite happily, where we even are audacious enough to declare the burgers there the best we've ever had, a close one for us, making it slightly ahead of how we feel about our home city Shack burger at Shake Shack. The combination of well-portioned burgers, favorable meat-to-bun-to-condiment ratios, original condiments (c'mon, mayonnaise bar = AWESOME), nicely toasted bunsm and super flavorful, juicy (but not at all greasy!) patties made Good Stuff Eatery an instant winner in my "best of" chronicles in eating. I am officially making this a must-do every and any time we're down in DC, because it'd be blasphemous to miss out on such deliciousness otherwise! :P

Price point: $6.95-6.98 for each burger, $3.69 for a regular-sized order of hand cut fries.

--April 19, 2013

Good Stuff Eatery (Capitol Hill)
303 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast
Washington, DC 20003

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