D.C. has become the home of many well-known chefs, some of whom have garnered celebrity status thanks to the growing appeal of The Food Network. Jose Andrés (Jaleo, Oyamel, Café Atlántico), Michel Richard (Central, Citronelle), and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery; We, The Pizza) are just some of D.C.’s chefs that have begun multiple restaurants and become household names.
Last week marked the beginning of a trial run of Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill. To start things off, the lunch rush on Friday afternoon was sheer madness. The line doubled back on itself inside the restaurant, crept out the door and ended at the curb. Watching about 50 people pick up and bite into their juicy burgers right in front of my face left me literally salivating by the time I ordered. This probably inspired my decision to completely and utterly indulge, with one “Colletti’s Smokehouse” burger and one large milkshake.
Let me begin by saying that I never order bacon on my burger. Usually, if I’ve already ordered a burger, there’s no need to tack on the extra guilt. Plus, in my opinion, on most burgers the bacon either takes away from the overall taste or it’s not flavorful enough to stand up to the burger and cheese. Well, let me tell you, this burger not only had bacon, it was also topped with sharp Vermont cheddar and a fried Vidalia onion ring, so it was a crazy burst of flavors, not one overpowering any other. Perfect ratios created perfectly complementary flavors. All of that greatness was placed on a freshly baked Pennsylvania Dutch bun slathered (not too heavily) with chipotle barbecue sauce.
All of the original burgers looked exceptional and ran the spectrum of flavors. The menu had unique, interesting toppings and original sauces available for the burgers. Two selections on the menu paid tribute to the president and first lady, the “Prez Obama Burger,” with applewood bacon and Roquefort cheese, and the “Michelle Melt,” with a turkey patty, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and a whole wheat bun.
The milkshake could have been a meal by itself. All of the shakes at Good Stuff are hand spun and made to order. What could be better? The toasted marshmallow was to die for. I was worried that it would be too rich and overwhelming to finish, but it wasn’t. Also remarkable was the Mint Oreo shake, a special on the day I visited.
Even though a walk around the block was essential before we hopped on our bikes for the ride back to Georgetown, the meal was totally worth it. And I almost forgot: You might get as lucky as we were and catch Chef Spike in action, assembling his Good Stuff!