Monday, March 24, 2014

J. Paul's Food Review

J. Paul's Burger with Crispy Fries

There's no shortage of history in Georgetown; as evidenced by a long list of bars & saloons with ties to the 80's, 60's (The Tombs) and even the 30's (Martin's Tavern.)  J. Paul's covers the former, a year removed from celebrating its 30th anniversary in its century-old M Street, NW digs. Step inside, and you feel the past... Take a seat, and you're greeted with a smile and a plate of complimentary soft pretzels. What's not to love?

After receiving a warm hello from J. Paul's hostess, my cousin Dean & I were quickly seated at a side booth near the bar. Be warned, it's a tight fit (I was literally pressing against the table) but all that was forgotten, once our server Steve stopped by with two warm pretzels & yellow mustard dipping sauce. A welcome change from boring 'ole bread... these generously-sized bavarian wonders cost us nada, nothing, zilch. Nice touch! Dean & I placed identical orders for J. Paul's Burgers with Crispy Fries ($13 each) and a Coke ($2.95.)

Complimentary Soft Pretzels

J. Paul's has a nice vibe, complete with swingin' saloon doors and a 100-year-old mahogany shotgun bar. Service was attentive (Steve refilled my Coke twice, without my having to ask) and fast (we barely had to wait 10 minutes for our burgers... one of which was cooked WELL-DONE.) Presentation was nice (although I'm starting to tire of "fries in a cup") and both burgers were cooked perfectly (including mine, MEDIUM.)

Burgers come housed in a soft, sesame seed bun pinned down with a pepperoncini and pickle. Toppings are fresh and plentiful (lettuce, two tomato slices and raw onions.) The beef is Virginia grass-fed and advertised as 8 oz., but mine looked even bigger. Grill marks on the inside of the bun, and a juicy, rich flavor to the beef won me over after just a couple of bites. I was less impressed with the fries... hot, but not necessarily crispy nor flavorful: Don't be shy, when adding ketchup.

After tax, two burgers and Cokes adds up to $35 ($43 after a tip) which is high; but toss in the pretzels, good service and history... and you have a pretty rich lunch.

Atmosphere: B (Some may call it dated, but I rather like the saloon feel.)
Burger: B (Cooked perfectly, and looked bigger than a half-pounder.)
Fries: C (If you're gonna advertise crispy... make sure they're crispy.)
Toppings: B (Pepperoncini is a nice touch. Everything else = nice & fresh.)
Value: C+ ($43 for two burgers & sodas is a bit steep; although free pretzels are a big plus.)
Overall: B (If you like your burgers with a side of history, then J. Paul's hits the spot.)