Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Z-Burger Food Review

Double burger & regular fries at Z-Burger

Z-Burger: Fuel for the Buck

I won't lie: I'm a big fan of Z-Burger. Where else can you find a burger with a dyed-green bun on St. Patrick's Day? Or the annual Independence Burger Eating Contest? Often packed with a decidedly young crowd, Z-Burger manages to maintain a super-clean, vibrant joint with the best bang for the buck (this side of McDonald's.)

I stopped by the Tenleytown flagship location on the way back from an American University basketball game, and purchased a double burger (with ketchup and onions) and a regular size order of seasoned fries. Together with a complimentary cup of water, the whole lot came to $8.58 before tax (no wonder so many AU students call this place home.)

I counted more than a dozen patrons when I arrived just after 9 (Z-Burger closes at 10 every night, Midnight on Friday and Saturday.) What I found most remarkable was how clean the place was. The face of Tenley's Z-Burger (Josif) was busy on the floor, greeting each and every customer... cleaning tables with unrivaled pride. By the time I got in line, he magically appeared behind the counter... greeting me again and taking my order. A+ for service!

My food was ready five minutes later (they call your number) and I went back to my seat with a loaded bag. I say loaded, because you get a lot of food for under 10 bucks. Beneath the generous supply of napkins lay a foil-wrapped burger (exactly what I ordered) and a separate bag containing a cup of fries with overflow (just like Five Guys.) Who doesn't like overflow?

The love affair died down a bit, once I started eating. The best thing here are the onion rings (best in DC) but I wasn't in the mood tonight. The burger was cooked properly but begged for salt and pepper (how do you cook a burger without either?) Ditto for the seasoned fries, which were anything but. They looked and tasted a bit greasy (something to work on, I suppose.) When I was done, I felt full but not necessarily satisfied.

Upon leaving, I was given a hearty good-bye (Josif again... cleaning again) and couldn't help but feel good exiting. I'll be back again for sure... I'll probably be in the mood for onion rings next time.

Atmosphere: A
Burger: C+
Fries: C-
Price: A
Service: A+
Overall: B (Value and service trump taste.)