Eating Out: The Good Stuff Eatery
An occasional series where my friends and I go out to eat. And then tell you about it.
At the urging of a friend from school, we ventured to Top Chef contestant Spike Mendelsohn’s new restaurant on Capitol Hill: The Good Stuff Eatery on Friday night. As yet another entry in the DC burger scene (recently chronicled by the Post’s Tim Carman), I found myself wondering if a celebrity like Chef Spike could move product. The answer, as proven by the crowds on the sidewalk on Pennsylvania Ave. SE, is unquestionably “yes.”
Full review after the jump.
Eight of us braved the line for about 20 minutes on Penn Ave. for entry into The Good Stuff. Spike’s new digs aren’t a sit-down restaurant; customers stand in line to order, take a pager while their meal is prepared and find a table on their own. Controlled entry into the line prevented overcrowding, which was a nice touch – and we found a table for 8 upstairs without too much trouble.
The burgers were tasty, if not quite as big as I’ve seen at the local Five Guys. I tried the “Colletti’s Smokehouse” burger, which is topped with applewood bacon, sharp Vermont cheddar, fried Vidalia onion rings and chipotle BBQ sauce. A freshly-made burger is always better than one that’s been sitting under the hot lights, but I wasn’t totally blown away. I’m willing to concede, though, that I have high burger standards – growing up with In & Out in California spoiled me!
I found the restaurant’s strengths elsewhere. Spike’s Village Fries (French fries seasoned with lots of fresh thyme, rosemary and cracked pepper) were fantastic – crisp, hot out of the fryer and served with a mayonnaise bar nearby. That’s right – four kinds of mayo for your fries! I particularly liked the Old Bay variety. I also tried out a Black & White milkshake, which was spectacular. Thick, creamy and perfectly complementary to the meal.
My only real complaint was the price tag – my dinner ran about $16 for a burger, seasoned fries and a milkshake – but I’m sure that won’t be an impediment to the Top Chef fans in the area. One of my companions noted that their portion sizes need work – her burger seemed relatively small compared to the mountain of French fries served with it. Still, one can’t expect perfection from the new kid on the block, and the lines out the door must mean they’re doing something right. If you don’t mind a moderate wait for a chance to spot Chef Spike (we didn’t see him during our visit, but I’m sure he’s around on occasion), it’s worth a trip.