Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pumpernickel's Bagelry & Delicatessen Food Review

Deli Burger

It's not easy finding a bargain near Chevy Chase Circle; which makes places like Pumpernickel's Bagelry & Delicatessen all the more special. Old fashioned to a fault (and favor) Pumpernickel's offers a wide variety of bagels, sandwiches, wraps and even hot slices of pizza. Prices are better than fair, and the service (although too casual for my liking) is courteous and responsive. So far, so good; but can they make a tasty burger?

The short answer is no (with an asterisk.) Pumpernickel's Deli Burger is advertised as a ½ pound burger, cooked well with lettuce, tomato and pickle (for six bucks.) For starters, there's no way it's a ½ pounder (not even a third, but rather ¼ lb. tops.) Of course, it's a frozen patty... which is known to shrink; but small is small, no matter how you measure it. It rests inside a cold kaiser roll, inexplicably cut in half (allowing tons of lettuce to pour out.) Why so much lettuce? Your guess is as good as mine (probably because it's cheap.) Each burger is cooked to death (well, well done) and absolutely flavorless. I wouldn't buy it again at half the price. Bland, boring and utterly forgettable.

Deli Fries

Pumpernickel's Deli Fries on the other hand, are a bargain at twice the price. Two bucks nets you a ton of crisp french fries, double-wrapped in aluminum foil. They come unseasoned (sense a trend?) yet most were tasty enough; although some were undercooked. Small fountain drinks are only a dollar; so it's easy to understand why people come here... It's downright cheap (especially compared to its competition.) Combine that with a neighborhood feel (Pumpernickel's is the very definition of a local hangout) and it's no wonder, it's always busy.

Expect a very young staff (especially in the summer) and lapses/mistakes, people their age make. That said, that same staff delivers a level of exuberance, you won't find anywhere else nearby (Have you been to Bread & Chocolate lately? zzz.) Pumpernickel's is affordable and comfortable with half-decent food, and a relaxed vibe that hits a definite chord with its loyal clientele. As for a burger & fries, may I suggest Blue 44 across the street?

Atmosphere: C+ (It's old and dated, but cozy & relaxed too.)
Burger: C- (Smaller than advertised, and tasteless; but relatively cheap.)
Fries: B- (Would a sprinkle of salt & pepper kill ya? Great value at just $2.)
Value: B (I'd prefer better food, but these prices are definitely user-friendly.)
Service: B (Hit or miss in terms of friendliness; but downright efficient most of the time.)
Overall: C+ (It is what it is... Cheap, cozy and entrenched in the neighborhood.)