Saturday, January 19, 2013

Energy Kitchen Food Review

Energy Burger Shines Atop Energy Kitchen Menu

Today marked my third trip to upstart eatery Energy Kitchen (time to call me a regular?) and I'm happy to report contact with a healthy hamburger worthy of daily consumption. Maybe a burger a day is pushing the bounds of healthy eating, but Energy Kitchen's Energy Burger proves worth the test.

Today's lunch (two different burgers, fries and a soda) was extra affordable, thanks to a generous free burger coupon found in my swag bag from Energy Kitchen's press tasting earlier this week. I used it on the Energy Burger, a 490 calorie signature bison burger with egg whites, tomato and lettuce (I passed on the fat-free cheddar cheese... some things shouldn't be fat-free.) The key to good bison is not overcooking it, and to EK's credit, they don't. Mine had a touch of pink inside and was made even more mouth watering by the presence of egg whites. Table service provided a tray of food with packs of Chelten House organic ketchup & spicy brown mustard for extra flavor, as well as a most welcome addition of Casa Solana jalapeƱo sauce (which should be found on every restaurant counter and table in America.)

I love Energy Kitchen's attention to detail: The dining area was spotless as always, with soft rock music in the background. Sparkling white tables had no salt and pepper shakers (they provide packets, so you don't overuse) but I'd love to see a shaker of Mrs. Dash salt-free seasonings to kick things up even more. Kudos also, for providing packs of Dickinson's pure honey at the condiment stand next to the fountain drink dispenser (which offers Sprite Zero! Yeay!) It's hard to ask for more when it comes to atmosphere.

Back to the food, where the rest of my order left me wanting. Sea salt baked fries are eerily reminiscent of the ones I make at home... but with less flavor. Generously salted, they're definitely missing something. At least they're cost friendly ($1.99) which goes the same for the Sirloin Burger ($6.49) I had afterwards. 90% lean, premium ground sirloin might be cutting it close when it comes to a burger's all-important fat content. Better seasoning would help, but I was left with red onion, tomato and gobs of EK sauce to compensate without much success. In fact, the extra EK sauce made a rather small burger messy to handle. The buns were OK, but I prefer mine charred and crispy.

It's fun to have an alternative like Energy Kitchen available, especially in an ever-increasing health conscious city like Washington. Sure there were misses, but I've already found two must-have items to add to my culinary rolodex. That's a surefire way to secure repeat business.

Atmosphere: A
Energy Burger: B+ (Can't wait to try again.)
Sirloin Burger: C- (Sometimes you just want a juicy burger... This isn't it.)
Fries: C- (Changes are needed. Curly fries? Tater Tots? Something.)
Service: A (Couldn't ask for more.)
Value: B- (Burgers are a little small.)