Best Specialty Burger
The Wellington at BGR: The Burger Joint
4827 Fairmont Ave, Bethesda; (301) 358-6137; 106 North Washington St., Alexandria; (703) 299-9791; 1514 Connecticut Ave. NW; (202) 299-1071
How many burger makers can claim that they’ve bested celebrity chef Daniel Boulud and his famous sirloin patty stuffed with red wine-braised short ribs and black truffles? BGR’s Mark Bucher can. Last year in a blind tasting in the “specialty burger” category at the inaugural Burger Summit in New Jersey, Bucher’s Wellington not only beat Boulud’s decadent offering, but also bested the efforts by cooks from BLT Burger, Le Bernardin, and Perry Street. (For those scoring at home, those are restaurants run by Laurent Tourondel, Eric Ripert, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten.) So what’s the secret to the burger that ate New York’s lunch? Bucher isn’t exactly saying. He will allow that it was invented by a two-star Michelin chef, who riffed on the classic beef Wellington. BGR’s Wellington starts with the Joint’s generously juicy, dry-aged beef patty, which is topped with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and herbs, blue-cheese crumbles, and then finished with a little demi-glace, that concentrated blast of savory goodness. There’s a secret ingredient or two, as well, but Bucher won’t talk about ’em. Which is just as well. Part of the Wellington’s delight is its utter surprise. You bite into it, expecting a traditional hamburger. You get French mother-sauce classicalism instead.