TD Burger Opens with a Stumble, Begins to Improve

15 Oct

Our first trip to TD Burger in NoMa (250 K Street, NE) almost didn’t warrant a return trip.  It was very disappointing as the restaurant has a great outdoor seating area and a Top Chef contestant as the chef (Timothy Dean).  Yet, the fast casual burger restaurant had a weird set up, confused service, and unimpressive food.  Since that, our most recent return trip saw some improvement.  However, we hope that this trend continues and accelerates as the restaurant still needs help.

Sonia from the Bronx Burger at TD Burger

Sonia from the Bronx Burger at TD Burger

Customers order their food at the counter and then go sit down with a number card for food to have their food delivered to them.  But there’s a catch: you can’t order any alcoholic drinks at the counter and instead have to go to the bar or get the attention of the cocktail waiter/waitress (only one or two employees had the ability to serve alcohol even though there were close to ten employees serving customers).  It took us around seven minutes to order drinks once we sat down even though the restaurant was empty and we’d already asked a different server for help.  This was after waiting several minutes to order food (there was no one in line in front of us) due to a combination of the server being completely confused and the computer system being down.  Additionally, this set up is not ideal as it requires customers to open a second tab for alcohol even if they only want to order a beer.

The food did not improve the night.  The “Sonia from the Bronx” burger sounded intriguing: avocado, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, and grilled romaine.  The burger probably would have been great if it had been served as a salad without the bun.  The grilled romaine was tasty and the burger had promising flavor.  Unfortunately, all of this was overshadowed by a soggy bun that fell apart and could not hold the burger properly.  We were a little confused at how the bun was so soggy as it had clearly been thrown on the grill for a few seconds and had light grill marks.  Regardless, it ruined the burger.  The allegedly “beer battered” onion rings tasted like onion rings we could have picked up in the frozen section of the grocery store.

The second time we made the mistake of ordering a pizza off the menu.  Yes, the restaurant is called TD Burger, but there are so many other items on the menu (think salads, sandwiches, pizzas, and chicken wings) that we had to sample something else.  We feel that if you aren’t proud of an item, it shouldn’t be on the menu.  Therefore, we decided to try a pizza.  After asking for recommendations, we were steered towards the BBQ chicken pizza.  The description said that it had “Moroccan BBQ, cumin seeds, and fried sage.”  Maybe it had cumin seeds, but everything else was missing.  The Moroccan BBQ chicken tasted like regular old BBQ sauce and the chicken did not have any special flavor (and was fairly dry).  The crust was forgettable.  Our mistake, skip the pizzas.

On our third trip, we stuck with the burgers again and tried to keep it simple.  The “Loree Blue” burger features blue cheese and bacon.  This time the burger was memorable–in a good way.  The bun was not overly soggy and did not distract from the well seasoned and well grilled burger that had just the right amount of melted blue cheese and bacon.  The fries were fairly standard, but tasted pretty good when paired with the burger.  This time the service was quick and without any hiccups.  It was the kind of experience that made us want to come back and try more on the menu in the future.

TD Burger could be good with some improvements.  The burger itself (the meat minus the bun) is quite good and has great flavor.  Many of the toppings that go on the burger work well.  The bun still needs improvement; it doesn’t need to be the best toasted bun in the world, it just needs not to distract from the rest of the burger.  The pizzas should be axed from the menu.  The restaurant’s name is TD Burger, not TD Pizza and Burger (we haven’t tried the salads or wings and can’t comment on them).  If the pizza were great that would be one thing, but it is not and should not be on the menu.  Finally, they need to figure out the alcohol service better.  Either allow customers to order beer at the main counter or have enough attentive alcohol servers in the restaurant and on the patio so that customers do not have to wait significant periods of time simply to get a beer.  We hope the restaurant will continue to improve as it would be a very welcome addition to the NoMa neighborhood. 


3 Responses to “TD Burger Opens with a Stumble, Begins to Improve”

  1. SW March 4, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    I had the same experience, bad service, soggy buns. This place needs to close! I’m waiting for a delicious place to replace it and put the big patio to good use!


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