Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Open City Food Review

Open City Burger & fries

Upscale Diner?

Who doesn't like eating in a diner (at least once in a blue moon?) But an upscale diner... now that's a whole nother level, am I right? Woodley Park's Open City at 2331 Calvert Street, NW is one such place. Equal parts bar, coffeehouse and diner... Open City is wildly popular with long lines to get in on the weekends. I've had "at it" several times in the past, and thought it was high time to try one of their burgers (and a pizza) for the purpose of review.

It was a late lunch (just before 2:00 PM) and the restaurant was busy, but not as busy as noon or 1:00. Our server was Jose, a friendly sort who took our order for an Open City Burger & fries, and a Home Base Pizza with Italian sausage and onions. The atmosphere inside was lively and comfortable. We were seated in the atrium (the main dining area is a lot nicer, but not as brightly lit.) To be honest, this is the first time I've eaten here during daylight: Open City stays open until midnight every day (1:00 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.)

Our food took a while to prepare, but it's hard to get too worked up on a weekday afternoon. I requested my burger MEDIUM, but it arrived almost rare (very bloody.) It was well-sized with a nice char, but had zero taste (no seasoning whatsoever.) Just blood... and lots of it. Yuck. The fries were garden variety, but tasty enough. At least it was appropriately priced at $7.99.

As for the pizza... The crust was delicious. Ditto for the sausage, which came in short supply. The onions were almost non-existent. The sauce was nice and zesty, but the lack of sufficient toppings and a flavorless mozzarella cheese kept this pizza on the ground. The pies are 12" and prepared in a stone hearth oven (hence the nice crust) but I get really annoyed when I'm charged extra for cheese. Let's break down the pizza pricing at Open City (I'll wait, while you grab a calculator... you're gonna need one.) Home Base Pizza $11. Italian sausage (Look closely, it's there... sorta) $2. Onions (Look even closer, I'm not sure if it's there or not) $1. AND HERE'S THE KICKER... Mozzarella $1.25. That's like charging extra for using the salt and pepper shakers. $15.25 for a 12" subpar pie? No thanks.

Home Base Pizza with sausage, onion and mozzarella

A Diet Coke ($2.10) and a coffee ($1.95) brought our total bill to just over $30... a little steep for a burger and pizza, but nothing too out of hand. This hardly qualifies as my best meal here, but considering the lines to get in (and all the hype) it's hard not to be disappointed.

Atmosphere: B- (Ask for the main dining room.)
Burger: D- (A bloody mess)
Fries: C+
Pizza: C (Stingy with toppings)
Price: D (For $15.25, I expect generous toppings on my pizza: Don't charge extra for cheese!)
Service: B (Nice and friendly)
Overall: C- (I've had better experiences here... Stick to breakfast and you'll be better off.)