National Hamburger Week Day 1: Joe’s Burgers, McLean
We were happy to see Joe’s Burgers get some love from area chefs during Eater’s Burger Week, and since it had been a hot minute since we last got our beef on at the McLean joint, we decided to kick off National Hamburger Week with the unheralded burger slinger.
Our order for Burger Week was the Al Numero’s Uno, with a stock makeup of smoked Gouda, crispy onion straws, white BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato and a small cup of Joe’s house relish on the side. And since there’s always room for bacon, we upped the ante and added a couple of strips to the mix.
Overall, it was damn tasty, but there were several misses with the burger’s execution. First up, the bacon was left off when coming to the table –but no big deal– that was remedied quickly with a plateful delivered less than a minute later.
The second hiccup was, rather than onion straws, we found one single onion ring sitting on top. But fried onions are fried onions, right? Not when it comes to a burger topping. Rings on burgers are far more unruly than a bunch of fried straws– especially big-ass rings like these. One bite and you’re left with a four-inch long naked onion hanging from your face, with a half-circle of fried batter left on the burger. It’s not the same.
So we ditched the onion ring along with a way-too-thick slice of tomato and limp sheet of lettuce. In addition, the sauce on the burger was much more pink than white and tasted like a chipotle mayo rather than a BBQ sauce.
But despite all the inconsistencies with our order, it was still a very solid burger. The beef was cooked to our rare specification, was competently seasoned and just about perfectly juicy. Without the lettuce and tomato, the relish added a good bite and just a touch of heat. We also found it surprising that the Gouda worked decently here despite no attempt by the kitchen to melt it (though we wouldn’t be against a gooey slice of the cheese next time). The bun was a big hit– the brioche was light, soft and slightly sweet, though it did start to break down towards the end.
One burger down. Six more to go. Our bellies are just getting warmed up.
Joe’s Amazing Burgers | 6710 Old Dominion Drive | McLean | joesburgersmclean.com