Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TD Burger Food Review II

TD Wings - Sweet Chili, Cilantro

And to think I almost didn't revisit Timothy Dean's TD Burger today. I was leaving a media preview for the new Anchorman: The Exhibit at the Newseum around 11:15 AM... and I was (predictably) hungry. It was 1.5 miles to TD Burger; but if I walked fast, I could be there in 20 minutes. I made it in 16. My reward? One of the best lunches I've ever had.

Make no mistake: I don't like to throw around "best I've ever had" too often; but Mr. Dean & co. left me with no other choice. Beginning with a friendly welcome (and 10% discount) from hostess Ricki, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of luncheon bliss. Ricki and I joked around, before she recommended her favorite flavor of wings (Sweet Chili, Cilantro... more on that later.) Normally, that would be enough; but I couldn't resist pizza, specifically sausage & grilled peppers for just $12. Add in a $1.75 fountain drink, and I made my way back to my favorite seat, tucked away in a back corner: I had some serious eating to attend to, and I didn't want the whole house to see me. TD Burger fills up quickly at lunch time (and with good reason.)

Sausage & Grilled Peppers Pizza

Before I sat down, a friendly server came over to me and explained that my pizza normally feeds 4-5 people, and asked if I'd like a box for take away later. Kudos for the heads-up (Ricki had also warned me that it would take 15 minutes to prepare.) I took a seat and marveled at the fact that the space is still impeccably clean... 3+ months since their August open. Great layout too.

10 minutes later, my wings arrived. 60 seconds later, I was grinning from ear to ear. Not only do these wings look good beautiful, they taste insanely delicious. As in "best wings in DC" delicious. Crispy skin, perfectly cooked chicken and a sweet chili glaze that begs to be put into a bottle and sold for $100! OK, I'm working on a chicken wing high... forgive me. Let's try a tenner: I'd pay that in a heartbeat. Honest to God, I never knew wings could taste this good.

The lone negative occurred less than five minutes later, when my pizza arrived. I wasn't halfway through my 10 wings, and considering it was just me at the table... I would have preferred more time between courses. It was also a bit distracting, because the 14" pie looked really good. I pressed on with the wings, and continued smiling with each bite. Speaking of, the last wing still had steam pouring out of it after one bite. Is there a better visual than hot food with visible steam? 10 bucks for 10 perfect wings: I'll let you do the math.

On to the pizza. Eight big slices across 14" with TD Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Italian Sausage, Grilled Peppers, Fennel Seeds and Fresh Oregano Oil. My server wasn't kidding, when he said it could feed 4-5 people. I managed to devour two slices... just enough to notice some of thickest, gooiest mozzarella in recent memory. The crust was sublime... great crunch near the edges, and just enough chewiness all-around. Keep the red pepper flakes handy, as the cheese tends to dominate: Spice makes a great neutralizer.

As a rule, I almost never take anything out of a restaurant; but six slices of top-notch pizza? I proudly strolled out of there, giant box in hand. On a side note, I couldn't help but notice women smile in admiration at a man with a pizza box, the same way they do when you carry flowers.

I can't wait to come back for a third visit... this time to try another order of wings (Moroccan BBQ with the Rub) and some beer battered onion rings that looked great at another table. Then again, I just noticed they have $5 burgers for happy hour (Monday-Friday, 4-7.) Make that four visits: It would be so much easier if TD Burger opened in Cleveland Park (subtle hint.)

Atmosphere: B+ (Great space)
Service: B+ (Even nicer than before.)
Crust: B+ (Good balance between crunchy and chewy. Well cooked.)
Toppings: B+ (Gooey cheese, nice sausage.)
Wings: A+ (No better wings in the Metropolitan area. Period.)
Value: A (10% discount for ordering a "big lunch?" How do you not love that?)
Overall: A (This is why I became a food critic... If only other places could come close.)