The Chicken is So Good at Boss Shepherd’s, We Forgot About Its Burger [BEEF BRIEF]

During our day-to-day adventures, we plow through so many burgs and we fail to share a lot of them here at Burger Days. We think that’s just wrong. So in an effort to spread more beefy goodness, we bring you Beef Briefs, short, brief looks at more of the burgers we take to the face. Where’s the beef? It’s right f**king here. 

Hamburgs are our jamburgs.

Boss Shepherd's is new to the brunch game, hooking up early Sunday fare for just barely a month now. When we got the news, per Burger Days protocol, we scanned the menu for that oh-so-delightful sandwich we've dedicated our lives to and, sure enough, the Hamburg was sitting pretty in the middle of the lineup. Operation Boss Shepherd's was a go. We made a visit to the easy-to-overlook restaurant last month (adjacent the Warner Theatre at the corner of 13th and E – the Boss Shepherd's awning is the only real clue to its existence) and the first thing we noticed upon descending the stairs into the cozy yet spacious dining room was the music. See, this isn't just any old ordinary brunch. No, this is a jazz brunch with real, live people making the music. We're not used to this fancy, melodious stuff. But despite our rudimentary appreciation of music, we dug the ensemble and welcomed the soundtrack for our afternoon of grubbing. There are a few ways to tackle the brunch menu here but if there's going to be boozing involved – and really, why wouldn't there be? – then the Libation Brunch is the way to go. For 35 bucks, it nabs you an appetizer and a main course along with two brunch cocktails and non-stop coffee and iced tea. It's not endless boozers but we'll take when we can get.

Eat this. Eat this so hard.

While our main course had been predetermined, we set our sights on the small plates and because we'd heard nothing but good things about Boss Shepherd's fried chicken, that was an easy choice, too. A meal consisting of an Old Bay Bloody Mary, fried chicken and a cheeseburger and fries doesn't exactly scream brunch, but, hey, that's just how we roll. The burger may have gotten us in the door at Boss Shepherd's but the thing that's going to keep us coming back isn't the beef. It doesn't come around often, folks, but this is one of those times when poultry trumps the cow. The burger itself is fine, if a bit boring. The half-pound, 80-20 blend of chuck, short rib and brisket came to the table looking damn pretty with its layer of melted cheddar glistening atop a bed of caramelized onions, but a light hand with the seasoning left us somewhat unimpressed. (We did appreciate the kitchen hitting our spot-on temperature request – our rare patty had a reddish-pink center and was wonderfully juicy.) But whatever the burger lacked in flavor, the chicken and biscuit made up for. And then some. We expected a deconstructed presentation – a wing or thigh alongside some bread – but instead, the chicken and biscuit comes all built up in sandwich form, and that's a good thing (Note: anything that minimizes the time it takes to get the food into our faces is a good thing). Twixt the fluffy buttermilk biscuit top and bottom, a strip of bacon sits on a layer of pimento cheese below while a preserved tomato rests atop a picture-perfect hunk of fried chicken in the middle. Guys, this is a sandwich that dreams are made of. The crispy yet light outside yields to the most succulent, juicy meat inside and the combination of the saltiness, mixed with the spices in the chicken's seasoning is borderline ethereal. We're still thinking sweet, beautiful – and occasionally dirty – thoughts about it. Our only lament is that the chicken and biscuit sandwich isn't available in a larger size or quantity. We'd have no problem chowing down on a full-sized sandwich or ordering up a half dozen of these things and popping them like Tic Tacs all night long. Also of note, the sandwich is only served at brunch though the dinner-order of fried chicken comes with biscuits so you may be able to make some crude, hacked-version of the brunch option. We're already planning a return trip as a sweep of Boss Shepherd's dinner menu reveals pot pie fritters, crispy pickled pig ears and bone marrow – and that's just the starters – along with potato dumplings, a maple-coffee pork spare rib and, yes, more of that fantastic fried chicken. Plus with not one, but two whiskeys on tap (for real, the booze is literally poured directly from barrels behind the bar), we might seriously consider setting up permanent residency in a booth. Boss Shepherd's | 513 13th Street NW | DC |

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