The concept is wonderful - kinda like Jamie Oliver meets Modern Italian but here it's Spike meets old-fashioned American favourites of burgers, fries and shakes. My reaction on visiting is that if I had a restaurant with such steady crowds, I am set. The people relate. So I am just hoping the nits with service and quality control get sorted out over time.
It's not a fast food joint - not at these prices. So IMHO, it needs to offer up something a little more than nostalgia.
My hand-spun Soursop Hop and Strawberry Shake was refreshing. Good quality fruit and ice cream hand-spun to deliver a home style consistency that's thick enough and importantly, to still be able to discern the strawberries. The soursop was MIA so a little disappointment there.
My Uncle D's chili 'n cheddar burger did not look like much when I opened the wrapper. Everything sort of mashed together. While I still like to eat with cutlery, I didn't have much of choice here. Very hard to pick up for those who still like eating their burgers the traditional way - with their hands. The taste was admittedly pretty good. It was a good juicy patty, and well spiced chili. The combination of the green onions and sour cream sealed it for me. Taste - 8; preso - ZERO.
Sides sounded wonderful from the menu. Spike's village fries with thyme, rosemary and cracked pepper. Stupendous combination but poorly executed. Fries were soggy, and whoever had the bag of spices did not have control. Way too much spice, which became soggy also. Such a letdown.
Cliff's homegrown Vidalia onion petals were slightly better. Tasty and sweet onion petals but oh my, coated in mile high batter. Way too much of it. The soggy factor was smaller but dig right to the bottom, and there was a small pile of soggy handcut fries there. What's up with that?
Chef Spike has got a great concept and great place to hang. But he definitely needs to hire better people and train them better to deliver the good stuff in an eatery everyone can rave about. I like it enough to give it a second try and hope it is GOOD STUFF next time.
303 Pennsylvania Ave SE
(between S 3rd St & S 4th St)
Tel: +1 (202) 543-8222