Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Good Stuff Eatery (Crystal City) Food Review

Spike's Sunnyside & Sunny's Handcut Fries

Good Stuff Eatery: Round 2

I think it's safe to call my last visit at Good Stuff Eatery an anomaly. My November visit to their Capital Hill location graded out a disappointing C; and I promised to revisit... this time at their new (and decidedly better) Crystal City digs (at 2110 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA.) True to my word, I did (earlier today) and I'm happy to report that all is well again with Top Chef Spike Mendelsohn's burger joint extraordinaire.

The moment I stepped into Crystal City's Good Stuff Eatery, I felt infinitely better. Gone are the cramped quarters of the bustling Capital Hill wait area... replaced by a gorgeous, roomy space that's equal parts inviting and practical (without skimping on looks.) In other words... perfect. Since I'm clearly not a people person, I decided to arrive after 2 (bypassing the lunch crowds.)

Customer service was delightful as usual, and I placed an order for one of GSE's signature burgers, Spike's Sunnyside (sans cheese) with fries and a soda. Total $12.35. The new layout allows for easy access to one of Good Stuff's best features... its dipping bar, where I loaded up on several sauces. Let me save you the trouble of deciding in the future: Old Spice and Sriracha Mango are to die for. Fries never tasted so good, as they do with these tasty dressings. I didn't have long to wait, and grabbed my bag after hearing my name called. Food stays hot in the bag (see below) and you get a basket to put everything into, once you find a seat.

Extra kudos for crushed ice, which makes every soda taste like a million bucks. It may not sound like much, but crushed ice is one of many small details (like Xlerator hand dryers in the restroom) that make Good Stuff Eatery stand out against its competition. The only negative (outside of extra loud Christmas music) were the fries themselves... It seems a shame to pair them with such delicious sauces. They're on the dirty side, and still cut small. Thankfully, this lot wasn't greasy as before; but I'd be telling tales if I told you I like them, yet alone love them. Make them bigger, cook them less and we're in business.

And the burger? I jotted down "unreal good" and that's underselling it. Crisp bacon, a fried egg and Spike's killer sauce, laid out on a brioche bun... what's not to like? It's a little messy, but worth a dispenser's worth of soap later. If there's a better combination to adorn a burger, I haven't had it yet. My bun was toasted this time around, and the extra crispiness makes a big difference. I may never visit the Hill again... Call me a Crystal City guy forever more.

Atmosphere: A- (Please turn down the volume... just a smidgen.)
Burger: A (Meet my new go-to burger... Spike's Sunnyside.)
Fries: C (Dipping bar choices have no equal... Time for fries to catch up.)
Price: B+ ($6.98 for one of the best burgers in town? Yes, please!)
Service: B+
Overall: B+ (What a difference a month... and a new location makes.)