Young and Hungry

BlackFinn’s Sliders Prove Bigger Is Not Always Better

It was an all out blood sugar crash. I had only eaten a sad office doughnut for breakfast, and then skipped lunch. On the train ride home, I became dizzy. My skin broke into a sweat. I needed a burger immediately.

BlackFinn was the first restaurant I spotted after exiting the Farragut West Metrorail station. Walking to the back of the bar through a sea of young, loud, professionals in suits and ties, I grabbed a stool. My bartender, professional though green, handed me a menu and told me everything was good. I ordered beef sliders and a Budweiser, which I nursed greedily like a kitten.

Mini burgers have become a cornerstone of many bar food menus. Posh restaurants perch tender, tiny patties of meat on custom baked buns so small they’re cute. Duffy’s offers a variety of meats including turkey and roast beef on pillowy, faux brioche buns. They’re the perfect size, maybe three to four bites apiece. BlackFinn however, approaches sliders like corporate America’s next super-size me.

These sliders reminded me of a toddler wearing his father’s clothes. Diminutive patties sat on much larger buns (just shy of full size) like feet in oversized shoes. The crowning potato roll was a suit coat dragging on the floor. They looked silly. And I wish they tasted better.

The meat's desiccated exterior reminded me of over-cooked falafel, encasing a dry but beefy center. Sautéed onions added flavor, but I’d be eating sawdust if not for the cup of au jus served on the side for dipping. I asked the bartender if they cooked sliders to medium rare, and he said he’d try, but noted they always come out well done. I wondered if a fire-breathing dragon worked the grill.

By 8 o'clock, the place still bustled and those working late continued to pour in. From over my shoulder, I listened to a table sing "Happy Birthday." Some woman named Meredith was turning 32, though she told a stranger she wished it was her 28th. Her boyfriend brought in a cake for the celebration. Meredith looked liked she enjoyed her food much more than I did.

Photo by Scott Reitz

  • Roger

    When you go into a shit hole and get shit, don't be surprised. And don't write about it either.

  • believeit

    Your eyes walked out of the Farragut West Metrorail station?!

  • KM

    wow @roger, constructive comment.

  • Roger

    You'd rather I hold this guy's hand while he figures out how to write about food?

  • scottreitz

    I don't need your hand holding Roger. I'm certain I'll do fine on my own.

  • Ed

    Wow - Roger seems like a real ass.

  • THF

    Roger might be stating things a bit harshly, but I have to agree - this place is hardly fine dining. You had to have known what you were getting yourself into.

    There are a dozen or so decent places for a quick dinner and beer within a block or two of Farragut West metro. I think you should have chosen better, dizzy or not.

    I want to be sympathetic, but it's difficult to be for someone who voluntarily orders Budweiser.

  • K Ballanfant

    I loved the writer's style! It made me laugh as well as gave warning! I don't live in DC but visit often, and this blog is regular reading material for me!

  • cm

    How are we supposed to know what we're getting into (without exploring for ourselves) if no one ever writes about it? Is that not the whole point of this blog?

  • tomaj

    scott--don't even think about making another post unless the food is bloody perfect. we don't want to read about anything bad. the purpose of a food blog is not to warn us about anything. and don't walk into another restaurant unless it also is perfect, because, you know, if you go to a place with imperfections, then you'll get imperfectionistic food. duh. is that the world's fault or it is, hmmm, yours?? we expect you to figure this out; don't make me send roger over there to hold your hand.

    moreoever, if you post a blog where shitheads can read it, expect shit comments.

  • Roger

    The point, since most seemed to have missed it, is that this isn't Yelp. We have Yelp for that. If you go into a restaurant or bar and know what to expect of the food, and everyone knows what to expect of the food, and then you get that food you were expecting, it's not newsworthy. You just have to save your receipt, log your time and chalk that one up in the loss category. But when you go into that place, or a similar place, and find something unexpected - good or bad - something that we want to hear about or need to hear about, that's what good food writing is about. I got no problem with the dude's style, and frankly I actually like that. But being a food writer is more than writing well and liking food. You have to do the work that we don't have the time or money to do. Find me the BlackFinn that has ridiculous sliders, or let me know why Founding Fathers' deviled eggs are ridiculous. But don't tell me that the $5 footlong from Subway left a little something to be desired.

  • Andy

    Settle down Roger, a little less caffeine maybe. Another purpose of a food blog can sometimes be letting people know where not to go for certain things. You don't seem to lack spare time btw. ~ "You have to do the work that we don't have the time or money to do."