Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gordon Biersch Food Review

Farmhouse Burger at Gordon Biersch

You don't get much nicer than Gordon Biersch at 900 F Street, NW... at least in terms of good looks. This space, formerly a branch of Riggs National Bank is absolutely majestic. Service is top notch, and the food close behind; but the main attraction at this eatery is the real estate.

Make no mistake, I came for the food... specifically the Farmhouse Burger and famous garlic fries; but before you eat, you simply have to take this place in. For starters, it's impossible to feel the least bit confined (or private) in the wide open layout. Some may argue the bars on the windows are uninviting; but I think they only add to the ambiance and cool factor. You literally are on an island however: For the first time in forever, I was actually conscious that I was eating alone. I longed for a small bowl of nuts to munch on, to fight off the nervous energy.

Service was strong, despite an apparent training day going on (each server was paired with a trainee.) My servers (Andrea & Tony... hope I spelled them right) were absolutely great. Andrea (the trainer) was full of energy and enthusiasm, and she fawned over me the entire meal. Tony filled in the blanks with class and discretion (guy's got skillz.) Background music was the best of any place in town... a jazzy-funk blend that included The Doors' Riders on the Storm. How cool!

On to the food, which took a little while longer than I expected. My plate looked gorgeous (even more so, when you consider it only cost me $11.95 with fries.) The Farmhouse Burger consists of GB's signature 10 oz. patty with bacon jam, arugula, tomato and a fried egg... topped off with a glorious bun (brioche?) It's served alongside a small portion of garlic fries, and an even smaller amount of delicious slaw. The slaw's so good, they ought to consider offering it as a side dish. My fries were salty with clumps of garlic, but lukewarm at best. They may have been sitting awhile, since my burger arrived WELL-DONE instead of the MEDIUM I had requested. Thankfully, the meat was stellar and still tasted good.

As you can imagine, anything with a fried egg in it is going to get messy. Each bite (and subsequent wipe with the napkin) was worth it however. The egg comes through loud and clear; but I couldn't taste the bacon jam at all (big disappointment.) Bacon jam works well with a BLT, but there's a lot to compete with on this plate: I'd switch to a slice or two of the real thing. Overall though, a great burger.

A Diet Coke sets you back $2.95, but I got a refill before I was 2/3 finished with my first. It's a small detail, but I appreciate the small stuff more than most. Andrea was literally thrilled to learn how much I enjoyed my burger... You just can't teach stuff like that: Great customer service is born, not always learned.

Great service and a beautiful setting guarantee that I'll be back... I already have eyes on GB's Korean BBQ Pork Chop over Mash. I hope Andrea (and her smiles) will be there to greet me.

Atmosphere: B+ (I could eat here every day.)
Burger: B (A few hiccups... bacon jam, overcooked; but still a great burger.)
Fries: C- (Handcut but cold. I'm sure they're better hot.)
Service: A- (Tiny bit of a wait, but table service was perfect.)
Value: B
Overall: B (Almost a B+, with room to grow.)