Osteria Morini, Bourbon Steak & Tico Take Home Hardware at 4th Annual Brainfood Burger Battle
Battles. Cook offs. Showdowns. They can be called many things but to paraphrase the Bard: “That which we call a burger bash by any other name would taste as deliciously greasy.”
Two weeks ago, we hit up Brainfood’s version of the assembly of booze and burger slingers at the nonprofit’s fourth annual Burger Battle. While it featured only seven participants – less than half the total of the summer’s D.C. Burger Bash – we dug the compact lineup and along with a manageable crowd and just about picture perfect venue in the courtyard of Poste Modern Brasserie, this was our favorite of the year’s two District competitions.
Our taste buds were in ecstasy for pretty much the entire afternoon. Imagine a food court, but instead of Sbarro, Auntie Anne’s and Asian stir fry, there’s seven ridiculously good D.C. restaurants and they’re all serving one thing: burgers. Plus, there’s a bar in the middle of it all with bottomless booze.
Yeah, it was pretty much the greatest time ever.
Doing right by our bellies on the afternoon were chefs Kyoo Eom of Poste, Matt Adler of Osteria Morini, Dan Singhofen of Macon Bistro & Larder, Shannan Troncoso of Brookland’s Finest, George Rodrigues of Tico, Brian Robinson of DGS Delicatessen and Jessica Biederman of Bourbon Steak while Poste’s Justin Hampton, Quill’s Rachel Ling and Jo-Jo Valenzuela of Brine kept our cups full of the good stuff.
Turns our there were some pretty astute burger eaters in the crowd because our favorite entry on the day was Adler’s White Label Burger from Morini which also took home the People’s Choice award. The patty, a custom dry-aged beef blend of brisket, chuck and short rib from Michael White, was just magic in our mouths and melded spectacularly with Ementhaler cheese and light dressing of herb aioli. We pretty much haven’t stopped thinking of it since.
Earning the Chef’s top pick was Bourbon’s Steak’s Jessica Biederman who hooked up The Smokey Bandit featuring a dry-aged beef patty (we’re sensing a trend) topped bourbon bacon jam, aged cheddar and arugula, while George Rodrigues of Tico nabbed the Judge’s Award for his Catalan Burger with shishito peppers, chorizo, pimenton aioli and a wafer-like disc of manchego on top.
Our other favorites on the day were Shannan Troncoso of Brookland’s Finest who hooked up its menu burger, the Colonel Burger, with pickled onions, Tillamook cheddar and applewood smoked bacon (note to bellies: hit up Brookland’s Finest soon) and DGS Delicatessen’s Brian Robinson who topped Creekstone beef with bread and butter pickles, spicy smoked jalapeno mayo and the best part of the chicken: crispy, fried skin. Poste’s Kyoo Eom went east with a steamed bun stuffed with Roseda beef, grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce and Gordy’s sweet pickle chips while Macon Bistro took our mouths down south with pimento cheese and collard greens plus a quail egg in the mix.
Needless to say, we ate well.
Full bellies and buzzed heads are great, but what made the day even better was the fact that proceeds from the battle went to Brainfood, the hosts of the event and a D.C.-based nonprofit that uses food and cooking to teach life skills and healthy living to teenagers. Helping out a cause always makes us feel a little better when we’re adding inches to our waistlines.