Chinito’s Burrito’s (635 Florida Avenue, NE), a burrito takeout spot across from Gallaudet University that served Asian influenced Tex-Mex food, closed several months ago. The spot has been vacant since. Recently, construction has been going on inside the restaurant. District Cuisine spoke with a representative of a new concept that will be opening in the space at the construction site several days ago. After undergoing some renovations, the spot will reopen (potentially by February) as a similar concept with a new name. It will offer similar food to Chinito’s that has an Asian fusion influence. They plan to be open for lunch and dinner and may deliver as well. More details as they become available.
We really want to like TD Burger (250 K Street, NE). It has a great location right across the street from the always popular Indigo and who doesn’t like a good burger place with an awesome patio? Sadly our previous experiences at TD had taught us to avoid the place. However, recently the restaurant has set up a smoker on its patio that wafts delicious hickory BBQ smells for multiple blocks. After attempting to avoid the temptation multiple times, we finally gave in and gave TD Burger another shot.
Unfortunately, we should not have. Let’s start with the logistics of takeout: an unnecessary nightmare. You order the BBQ inside and then pick it up from the guy at the smoker outside. Makes sense but wait: there are only certain BBQ items that you pick up from the guy outside–for other random ones, you pick them up inside. For example, we ordered a half BBQ chicken and an order of brisket. The chicken comes from outside, the brisket from inside. It didn’t make any sense, but we went with it. We placed our order and then went outside to pick up the chicken.
TD Burger was not busy at this time. There was one guy in front of me also waiting for chicken. It took about ten minutes for him to get his chicken (even though it was already done in the smoker), and then it was our turn. The chef manning the smoker told us to wait a minute and then he would be right with us. He disappeared inside for five minutes or so and reemerged with a tray of raw pork ribs. He proceeded to marinate the various racks of ribs and threw them in the smoker while we waited. He then washed his hands in a bucket full of dirty water (no soap) and then proceeded to grab our chicken out of the smoker. Using his bare hands (which he had 30 seconds ago been marinating the raw pork ribs with) and tongs that he had also “washed” in the dirty water he divided my (measly) half chicken into thirds and cut it up. When we asked about having BBQ sauce on the side, it was interpreted as an odd request.
The whole process took at least 20 minutes, despite the fact that the chicken was done and ready to go the second we walked outside. We walked back inside to pick up the brisket that was surely done by this point. Wrong. Took another 5-10 minutes for that to come out as well. Continue reading