Eric Ripert Between Two Buns

20071228_RipertBurger.jpgChallah buns, that is. At Ripert’s a-couple-month old West End Bistro inside Washington, D.C.'s Ritz, the burger has already been baptized the best in the city by one Yelper. But eighteen bucks? There’s nothing fancy on it—no onions dripping in duck fat or aged cheese. No hint of truffle. Not even a homemade grainy mustard! But it’s thick, juicy and a straightforward classic. Still worth twenty bucks with tax? Meh.

The Angus sirloin, straight from pampered cows at Maine's Pineland Farms, is simply seasoned—just salt and pepper. Onions aren’t grilled. Pickles are just the bread and butter kind. Ketchup, mayo, and mustard aren't made in house—just the iconic brands poured into a trio dish. Tomatoes and lettuce are crisp, sure. But the challah is probably the best part. Soft and fluffy, it beats the bulky white kind that's ready to choke you. It's moist like a buttery brioche would be and sticks to the meat, given all that moisture.

Compared to other Washington haute bistros, it’s actually pretty average-priced. Michel Richard does his at Central for $16—and $18 for the tuna burger, $29 for lobster and $18 for shrimp. BLT Steak’s is $16, Morton’s is $14, Charlie Palmer’s and D.C. Coast both have one for $13. But the steep price is still controversial in foodie circles. Recently opened Marvin got beef for its $15 burger. But, but.. "it's all organic Angus beef ... with Chimay cheese ... served on an onion brioche bun ... and it comes with chanterelles," the owner whined to the City Paper. But it's a burger, says the rest of the world.

West End Bistro

Address: 1190 22nd Street NW, Washington DC 20037
Phone: 202-974-4900
Website: westendbistrodc.com

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