Friday, April 17, 2009

An evening out at Z-Burger in Tenleytown

Some of you may remember me posting about Free Burger Day at Z-Burger a couple weeks ago and to my surprise someone caught wind of that same post. So in return, I was invited to come try everything on the menu this evening and I do mean everything. I brought Stone from The Couch Sessions along for the excursion and it was real treat. We were a little concerned at first when we arrived because the lovely cashiers weren't too certain how this private promotion was supposed to work. However, after a call to the owner we were well on our way to a high calorie but highly comforting meal. Sorry for the lack of pictures, I didn't think to take pics until after the fact.

For the starters, Stone had a double burger with the works and onion rings, I tried Z-Burger's take on a chicken cheesesteak and we split an order of fries. Stone was pleased with the onion rings which were accompanied by a remoulade-like dipping sauce. We were both familiar with the double burger and fries. The quality is pretty similar to that of the upstart's more established competitor, Five Guys, however the "other guys" don't have a chicken cheesesteak. Now some may say I don't know what I'm talking about when I say this but Z-Burger's chicken cheesesteak is the closest I've gotten to in flavor of an authentic chicken cheesesteak. I lived in Philly for a couple years and ate mad chicken cheesesteaks from all parts of the City of Brotherly Love, including long-time rivals Geno's and Pat's, so I have a pretty good idea of what to do and what not to do. I had to add lettuce and tomato, which made it a chicken cheesesteak hoagie, it comes with GOOD provolone cheese and I added my favorite condiment ketchup. The chicken was perfectly seasoned and greasy just as the meat on my first chicken steak was from Gennaro's at 12th and South Sts. in South Philly in 2003. If I used a star rating system, I would give it a 4 out of 5. One thing that would make this sandwich perfect - a tad more chicken considering the $7.00 price tag. I would've included the use of Amoroso rolls which anyone who knows Philly steaks knows that's the dealbreaker. However by the time you got a shipment of Amoroso rolls to DC they'd be pretty stale. Nonetheless, I think even the toughest of Philly natives would enjoy this one.

For the mid-course, we weren't offered an amuse bouche but we were given a tour of the restaurant's kitchen in which I learned the difference between a shake and a malt (they have 50 varieties two of which I'll touch on later) saw the grill and assembly lines up close. It appeared as if everyone was enjoying the job with the fry guy in particular being very enthusiastic about the use of fresh-cut fries. I can't argue with because fresh is always best in my opinion. Before we left the kitchen, I had to ask the staff what makes Z-Burger better than Five Guys. They responded, "Five Guys doesn't have shakes/malts and cheesesteaks!"

For the last course, we ended with real milkshakes and 100% beef hot dogs. I mentioned earlier that Z-Burger has 50 varieties of milkshakes. I'm not going to list them all but you can choose from Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chocolate Banana, Peach Mango, Pineapple, Vanilla, Strawberry Cheesecake (I had this one) and Peanut Butter Cup (Stone had this) to name a few. At first sip, I was expecting the same flavor as Breyer's Strawberry Cheesecake flavored ice cream - I tasted the strawberry right away but it took a few sips before I got that same cream cheese bite as you do with real cheesecake. The Peanut Butter Cup shake was very drinkable but could be a little heavier on the peanut butter. The hot dogs definitely lived up to my high hot dog standards as they were not only 100% jumbo beef dogs but they were also grilled and split perfectly. I'm not sure if they ran out of hot dog buns or if they purposely use the wrong-sized bread but the excess slightly takes away from the quality of the dog itself.

Our Z-Burger experience was top notch indeed. I've dined in places where, if we had paid, the cost of our total bill would've been equal to one entree alone. The food for the most part was on point and even when we were sorting out the details at the beginning, the customer service was great. I highly recommend taking a trip to Z-Burger if you haven't done so already and seeing for yourself.

4321 Wisconsin Ave. NW (Tenleytown)
Washington, DC

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