Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Kraze Burgers Food Review

Kraze to Return?

With no shortage of burger joints to choose from in the DC area, I can afford to be fussy (see Shake Shack) in my reviews. Upon my second (and last) visit to Bethesda's Kraze Burgers, I'm prepared to take fussy to a whole new level...

It's been just under a year since the Korean burger chain opened their first American outlet at the former National Jean Co. space at 4733 Elm Street in Bethesda; but it's apparent that more than a few kinks still need to be worked out.

At first glance, Kraze is quite clean. The space is well-lit, basked in green and white decor (love the tables.) The trouble begins once you place your order. A plethora of choices... Three different types of bun or a bunless bowl of greens, four proteins (beef, turkey, grilled tofu or veggie patty) six cheeses, six sauces, eight classic specials and seven extra specials (including fried egg or grilled pineapple) invites potential chaos if you're unlucky enough to line up behind someone who's indecisive. Even with nobody else in line, I felt overwhelmed.

With my order sorted, I came face to face with a cashier that had zero desire to be there. No hello, what can I get you or thank you. Nada. "Thanks" for the welcome. I ordered a beef burger with lettuce, onions and tomato. Oddly enough, I wasn't asked how I wanted my burger cooked (is this standard operating procedure?) I paired my burger with herb fries (but could have chosen regular or sweet potato fries... or even grilled asparagus!) With a free cup of water (three cheers for a regular size cup!) my bill came to $8.96, tax included. If you're keeping score at home: Price/Value 1 Customer Service 0.

Given the time (2:45 PM) Kraze was relatively quiet (less than a dozen customers) and I waited by the front door for my pager to go off. During this time, I had a chance to observe the cooking staff display equal "doom and gloom" as they went about preparing my meal. Is anyone happy here? Around 10 minutes later, I picked up a tray of admittedly attractive food: You get a good amount of fries for two and a half bucks, and the burger even comes assembled with a convenient sword pick (three more cheers.) In terms of taste, the fries were decent (not spectacular.) The burger was stacked nicely, but the meat tasted suspiciously frozen (well-done on the outside, medium in the middle.) It wasn't inedible, but I wouldn't want to eat it again. The bun proved to be the tastiest part of the meal (not exactly encouraging.)

As I wrapped up my lunch, I noticed a female customer who walked in, examined the menu for about a minute, then walked out. Despite standing right in front of the cash register, she was completely ignored (including a manager/owner who was less than 10 feet away.) Again, no hello, no good-bye. With customer service like this, I'm likely not the only one who will never return.

Atmosphere: C- (Lots of staff... all unhappy)
Burger: C- (Nice bun, but cooking was uneven)
Fries: C+ (Better with ketchup)
Price: A
Service: F
Overall: F (Worst burger joint in town.)