I tried, on three different occasions, to eat at Good Stuff. Each time I went, the restaurant was closed. At my first attempt, on a Saturday afternoon, we arrived to find the doors locked.There was no sign saying that the restaurant would be closed, soI peered through the windows, hoping to see signs of life. Instead, it was dark and the chairs rested upside down on their tables. I thought it was strange to be closed on a Saturday, but I understood that odd hours often come with the territory of being a restaurant in its nascent stages.
On my next attempt a week later, there was a sign saying that they would be closed from 3:30-5:30. Ok.Siesta. Not out of the ordinary – IN EUROPE. But I let it pass. At least there was a sign, right?
On my third try (the third consecutive weekend), the “good people” of Good Stuff decided that they would be closed on Sundays.
I understand that a new restaurant is not going to have everything set right off the bat. I know restaurants have to iron out some kinks. It's not easy opening a restaurant. But to have gone on three different occasions, all during regular dining hours, and to be met with locked doors and a blacked out restaurant is a bit off-putting. Closing on a Sunday? Do youwantcustomers? I understand that on the Hill, the restaurant will most likely be busiest during the week, but Spike is a (very) minor celebrity right now. DC is a tourist trap. Ride those 15 minutes of fame and stay open seven days a week!
Finally, on my fourth attempt, I was greeted with open doors and a line wrapping around the front of the restaurant. Since I waited a month to gain entry, I already knew what I was ordering: A free-range turkey burger with chunky avocado and bean sprouts with Meunster cheese on a whole wheat bun. I listened to the conversations around me as waiting patrons expressed their hopes for Spike to pull through and give a great burger as I neared the register, and, finally, placed my order. While waiting 35 minutes for a turkey burger, the 5 Napkin Burger - dairy fresh cheese, applewood smoked bacon, and a fried egg on a brioche bun (my friend’s order), fries, and a Milky Way double spun milkshake, I watched Spike flip some burgers and, in true Spike fashion, mug for the crowd.I also heard a several complaints. Raw burgers. Incorrect orders. Missing items.
Maybe the staff couldn't hear over the blaring music.
The food was finally ready and we made our way upstairs with a variety of dipping sauces that included Old Bay Mayo, Chipotle Mayo, and Sriracha Mayo. As we unwrapped our burgers, we were surprised by how small they were. For $7, I would like a little more meat. It was the size of a McDonald's hamburger and was completely overpowered by all of the toppings. My burger, a turkey burger topped avocado, sprouts, Muenster cheese on a Pennsylvania Dutch wheat bun tasted like the contents of an entire lime was squeezed out onto the top bun.There is less lime in a margarita. The flavor was so strong, that I could not even finish it. My friend's poached egg broke when the burger was wrapped and placed in the bag, so he was greeted with a soggy burger and runny egg yolk dripping from the bag.
The fries were good. I am a big fan of rosemary and thyme, and while many feel that the herbs were a bit over the top, I enjoyed the flavor (the texture, on the other hand, was a disappointment, as the fries were extremely soggy). The dipping sauces were delicious and so was the Milky Way shake which was creamy, rich, and delicious.
But the cost of the meal, combined with the underwhelming (and, in my case, inedible) burgers was reason enough to not want to return. $25 for two soggy burgers, soggy fries, and a shake is bit ridiculous, if you ask me.
Final verdict: There are no burger places this close to the Capitol, so I can see why it's popular. But the food was mediocre and not worth the wait, but I am glad that I tried it. I think Spike forgot that the burger should stand out and the toppings should enhance the burger, not drown it out. If Top Chef teaches you one thing, it is that less is more.