July 10, 2013
It’s only natural that Bold Bite added burgers to their menu of sausages, hot dogs and salads. Once their burger slinging neighbors at Fresh Grill closed up shop, there was a need for another patty to compete with their other neighbor BGR.
The folks at Bold Bite knew they had to live up to their name, while offering something a bit different to stand out. That’s why they introduced a new line of smoked burgers. I admit to a bit of trepidation when I saw a par-smoked patty emerge from a container when I placed my order, but all fears were alleviated at the first bite.
On my first go-around I stuck with the Naked Burger, which was a bit more dressed up than the name implied. However, they got just about every component right.
The bun? Toasted potato. The lettuce? Shredded. The onion? Diced and fresh. The cheese? MERICAN. There was also a bit of yellow mustard in play, which contrasted nicely with the patty’s smokiness.
And about that patty… I typically like things in the 6-7 ounce range, but this full on half-pounder held up remarkably well. The subtle hickory smoke (always be subtle with hickory) paired with the crust formed on the flattop to provide something reminiscent of the bark you get from good barbecue. The interior was plenty juicy, despite the multi-step cooking process and a center that was just slightly past the requested medium rare.
After one visit I’m ready to say that it’s at least as good as any other fast-casual burger in Bethesda. If future visits confirm my initial findings I will have no problem ranking it ahead of everyone in that category, including Kraze, Freddy’s and the aforementioned BGR.
So go. Go now. And get the fries. Those have always been among the best anywhere in the area.
June 24, 2013
City Eats DC
This week, we’ve come up with a list for the night owls, midnight ramblers and closing shift crowd. Here are the best late night bites around.
One word: chivito (an epic Uruguayan sandwich packed with filet mignon, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, hardboiled egg, green olives, pancetta and more). Two more words: papas champignon (crisp golden fries with white wine mushroom sauce). Three more words: go there now.
Open Monday – Thursday from 11 am to midnight, Friday from 11am. to 5am, Saturday from 12 pm to 5am, Sunday from 5pm to 10pm.
Pick your crust, sauce, cheese and toppings, then walk to the end of the counter and your personal pizza is done a few minutes later. Plus, there’s beer and wine. What’s not to love?
Open Sunday -Wednesday from 11am to 10pm, Thursday 11am to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 3:30am.
Of course, the hot dogs are good, and so are the fries. But now there are blue ribbon burgers, too. Go for the Mexican-minded half-pound, hickory-smoked Spicy, which is crowned with pico de gallo, guacamole, hot sauce, matchsticked tortillas, Monterey Jack and cilantro lime sauce.
Open Monday – Thursday from 11am to 8:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 2:30am, Sunday from 11:30am to 8:30pm.
It’s never too late (or too early for that matter) for a few Gin Blossoms cocktails, an order of pepperoni sauce and a Jersey Shore pizza. Plus an order of zeppole–if you want to really go on a carb binge.
Open Mon.–Tues. 11:30am to 11pm (kitchen closes at 10pm), Wed.–Sat. 11:30pm to midnight (kitchen closes at 11, but pizzas are available until close), Sun. 11:30am to 11pm (kitchen closes at 10pm)
Ben’s Chili Bowl
This U Street standard bearer is like a booty call with the ex. You don’t always feel good about it afterwards, but you get drunk and do it anyway. Forget the regrets, D.C.’s classic half-smoke is an irresistible late night proposition.
Open Monday – Thursday 6am to 2am, Friday 6am to 4am, Saturday from 7am to 4am, Sunday from 11am to midnight.
Got the midnight munchies? Zone in on the pizzas here, especially the rolled version stuffed with avocado, broccolini, tomatoes and chicken chunks.
Open Mon.–Sun. 4pm to 2am
Choose your proteins – we’re big fans of the kalbi beef rib and spicy pork belly – and gather round the BBQ table. Everyone can griddle their meats to their liking – so no more arguments over rare versus medium.
Open 24-hours a day, except 2am to 10am on Mondays
It’s always a good time for doughnuts, especially the ones that Tiffany MacIsaac makes. Our favorites include the bourbon-butterscotch and the Key lime.
Open Mon. 8am to 2pm, Tuesday – Thursday from 8am to 2pm and 4pm to 2 am, Friday from 8am to 2pm and 4pm to 3am, Saturday from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 3am, Sunday from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 2am.
Osman & Joe’s Steak & Egg Kitchen
This classic diner features a sprawling all-day, all-night menu so you can have breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. Burgers are a good bet, especially the bacon, ham, egg and cheese topped double patty Brazilian.
Open 24-hours a day.
Need a fry fix? Head here for a passel of perfectly golden frites with a malt vinegar aioli. While you’re there, you might as well get the peach bourbon-glazed brisket and duck tacos, too.
Open Tuesday – Thursday frp, 4 to 11pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 1am.
June 13, 2013
Bethesda Magazine: Table Talk
Can a place that focuses on franks make the leap to burgers? That would be a resounding ‘yes,’ when it comes to Bold Bite’s terrific new patties.
Realizing that not everybody does dogs, chef-owner Alonso Roche said he wanted to branch out. And since Roche is a L’Academie de Cuisine graduate who takes his cooking seriously, he came up with a burger way beyond the basic.
Mixing ground chunk with a bit of brisket, Roche smokes the eight-ounce patties for four minutes over hickory sawdust in a portable smoker, giving them a subtle but noticeable smokiness. Then they’re cooked on a flat-top grill, which seals in the juices and gives the exteriors a crusty char.
The burgers come in three varieties: Naked (with lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mustard on a toasted potato bun, a terrific bargain for $6.99), Bold (with lettuce, tomato, onion, potato sticks and tangy Bold sauce, for $7.50) and Spicy (with Monterrey Jack cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, hot sauce, shredded crispy tortilla strips and cilantro lime sauce, for $8.99).
Believe me, you won’t want to drown out the flavorful meat with too many toppings. I had the Naked, and even that was a little too fully clothed.
Bold Bite, 4901-B Fairmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-951-2653, www.boldbite.net
February 8, 2013
City Eats DC
So many choices, so little time. The Ten is your guide to the best of the best that D.C. has to offer.
This week’s installment tackles French fries. Most people are clearly passionate about them, since a recent study found that the average American eats 29 pounds of fries every year. Here are a few top-notch options to make sure you hit your quota in 2013.
The crispy sea salted fries are great on their own, but they’re even better dipped into one of the house-made whips and dips. The creamy truffle and the perky Cajun ketchup are tops in my book.
Triple fried in duck fat, these substantial potato spears take more than 24 hours to make. An epic and iconic take on the fast food favorite.
Fries spiced three ways – garden herb, chili cheese, and pastrami – are complemented by a trio of sauces – pickled ketchup, barbeque and Russian dressing. Mix and match to your hearts content.
The crinkle cut fries are good, but the cheese sauce they’re drenched in is even better. Think of a mix of aged white cheddar, sharp provolone, and American with the consistency of nacho cheese.
Chef Cathal Armstrong does his Irish heritage proud with these thick cut fries. Crisped golden in canola oil, they’re served with your choice of house-made sauces, like curry, tartar, and hot chili.
Double fried to perfection, these are blue ribbon frites. They pair especially well with the from-scratch truffled mayo, horseradish cream, and roasted red pepper ketchup.
This H Street standout commands a dedicated following for its grilled cheese sandwiches, but its chili cheese fries are equally worthy of their own fan club.
Chef-owner Scott Harlan’s play on poutine is so decadent that every order should come with a defibrillator. Spot on fries come topped with a blanket of gravy, generous chunks of duck liver, and stringy gobs of cheese.
You can get your frites on at this bustling Belgian bistro. Light gold, crispy, and speckled with parsley, they’re accompanied by a trio of dipping sauces, including a curried mayo.
These stellar, slender sliced spuds are worth your love and attention. Pair them up with one of the 30+ craft beers available for the best results.
Is your favorite missing? Disagree with one (or more) of my choices? Leave a comment below.
September 7, 2012
Adventures in Vegetarianism
When I was looking up vegan options near our place in Maryland, I came across Bold Bite Dogs & Fries, a new hot dog place in downtown Bethesda. Hot dogs and vegan normally don't mix, but Bold Bite offers a Veggie Sausage option for all their menu items.
To be safe on the allergy and vegan side, I emailed Bold Bite over the weekend to ask what the ingredients were in the veggie sausage. I got a nice response from Alonso with the ingredients: Eggplant, fennel, red wine, garlic, sweet peppers and gluten.
Tonight after work, I met my husband for dinner. When I went to the counter, I asked about the ingredients in the arugula pesto, as sometimes pesto is made with walnuts and that would be an allergy debacle. The gentleman at the counter asked if I was vegan, and shared that the pesto didn't have nuts, but it did have mayonnaise. He then asked if I was the person who sent the email over the weekend. When I told him that that was indeed me, he proceeded to show me how different menu options could be veganized, mentioning specifically that their Cajun Ketchup is a great option for vegans.
I went with the Veg-Out Show Dog: Veggie Sausage, diced tomato, red onions, lettuce, topped with crispy shallots. It normally comes with the argula pesto, but I omitted that due to the mayo. It was really good - the texture of the sausage was nice and meaty and seasoned well, and the toppings were fresh. The fries were also delicious.
I really like it when conventional restaurants go above and beyond to make vegans feel welcome, and Bold Bite certainly delivered. What restaurants do you feel go the extra mile for vegans?
October 19, 2011
The Washington Post
By - Catherine Zuckerman
Wednesday, Oct 19, 2011
Marcel Proust had his madeleines. For Alonso Roche, childhood memories are triggered by a less delicate food: hot dogs. "Every time I have that first bite," he says, "it takes me right back to the streets of Venezuela."
Specifically, he's referring to the Bold ($3.99), one of a handful of dogs on offer at Bold Bite, the mod 30-seat restaurant he opened in July with his brother, Alvaro. Topped with onions, shredded cabbage, crisped potato sticks, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard, it's a tribute to the late-night snack of his youth in Caracas. Midwesterners might feel similarly nostalgic about the Chicago ($3.99). The Vienna beef dog, tucked in a steamed poppy-seed bun, is piled with onions, green relish, a pickle spear and small, green sport peppers, all dusted liberally with celery salt.
Work brought both brothers from Venezuela to the United States. Alvaro focused on retail; Alonso spent several years as a television producer in Miami, then moved to Washington in 2000 to start a television graphics company with Alvaro. The business fizzled, which led Alonso to pursue cooking, his true passion. After graduating from L'Academie de Cuisine in 2003, he cooked locally at Persimmon in Bethesda and Willow in Ballston, and not-solocally in Madrid. Bold Bite is the result of the brothers' decision to combine their talents and have some fun.
Wine, beer on tap and late-night weekend hours (when the scene is really hopping, Alonso says) factor into that formula. So do sausage dogs, which come in several varieties. Listed as Show Dogs on the menu, they are made by Simply Sausage in Landover, griddled to order and planted inside toasted baguettes from Lyon Bakery.
The bratwurst ($6.50) is fat and juicy, its richness tamed by candy-sweet caramelized onions. The merguez is lacking in lamb flavor, but its tasty accessories make it hard to fault: ripe tomato, cucumber, feta and crunchy pita strips ($6.90). The Argentine chorizo is succulent, mildly spiced and snappy in its pork casing, even after 30 minutes of wrapped-up travel time. I tried it atop the Latin salad (one of four salads on the menu), a mix of romaine, corn, avocado and more, dressed with a balanced cilantro-lime vinaigrette ($10.90; without sausage, $6.99).
Feeding a crowd? The Samplers have you covered ($20 for five dogs, $30 for five sausage dogs). Belgian-style fries, cut fresh daily, are worth the extra calories ($1.99 to $4.50). Like the dogs, they can be embellished with a selection of house-made, mayonnaise-based sauces (no charge), cream-enhanced "whips," ($1 to $2), or vegetables, chopped herbs and premium toppings such as blue cheese and chili ($1 to $2).
Still hungry? For dessert, there are ice cream sandwiches made with chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies ($3), just in case your childhood hasn't quite come back into view.
September 21, 2011
While Bold Bite shimmers with the clean stainless steel of a 1950s diner, cosmopolitan panache can be sniffed out all over the menu. Plain dogs run in the same pack with Moroccan mergeuz, spicy chorizo, bratwurst, Argentine “choripan” and truffled butifarra. But all dogs aside for the moment, Bold Bite is a mecca for fries.
When french fries are on the menu, they should be made well in-house from spud to chip. The fries here are made with attention to detail. They are hand-cut, par cooked in advance and crisped at a high temperature immediately before serving. The deep fryers at Bold Bite have alarms built into them to alert the cooks when the fries are at crispy perfection.
As if good fries were not enough, Bold Bite takes them a couple of well-heeled steps further: they may be accompanied by any one of six house sauces including cilantro lime mayo, arugula pesto and Cajun catsup. Or, fries can be topped with cheese or chili for an additional $2. For the ultimate fries, Bold Bite can whip them, that is, a cone-shaped vase with a paper liner is loaded with crispy fries, then topped with drop star of whipped cream infused with blue cheese, mustard or truffle oil, resembling a soft serve ice cream cone. As you eat, the savory cream melts into the fries, melding crisp with creamy, salty with spice and flavor.
One good turn deserves another. Bold Bite offers dogs a la
carte to be topped with any of the myriad salsas and condiments made in-house. But the customized dogs are the best in show. Chorizo is topped with guacamole jack cheese, crispy tortilla chips and cilantro lime sauce on a French baguette. Choripan, an Argentine chorizo, is slathered with chimichurri sauce. Merguez is tamed with green peppers, cucumber, feta cheese, pita strips and yogurt-mint sauce. The leader of the pack is the truffled butifarra, a mildly seasoned pork sausage served with butter-braised cabbage, crunchy potato sticks and a mousseline of whipped cream infused with white truffle oil. Nothing is too spicy or salty, so the truffle flavor is preeminent.
Anyone who has eaten a beef frank in Chicago will appreciate the Chicago Dog, dressed with cartoonish green pickle relish, yellow mustard, “sport” pickled peppers and celery salt on a poppy seed bun. The Bold BLT, with its thick slab of applewood smoked bacon, shredded lettuce, diced tomato and house aioli mayonnaise, is too much for its buttered and broiled bun, and owner Alonso Roche says he is on the hunt for a bigger sturdier bun. For the indecisive, sampler combos look like fun.
The bun-less crowd can wolf down entrée salads that feature various links on greens, dressed with well-made vinaigrettes and accessorized with the house toppings. Salads are served in to-go containers, so it is easy to pick up and run. And honestly, who needs a kids’ menu when hot dogs are the main course? Nonetheless, all natural beef franks on a steamed bun, with pup-sized fries and a soft drink, with free refills on catsup get the thumbs-up from junior critics.
Beverages to try include the house-pressed lemonade, expensive yet well worth the price, and the home-brewed iced tea. There are free refills on standard sodas, and there is always a good selection of beer on tap as well as house wine. Salty dogs out for a late night of weekend carousing can cool their heels at Bold Bite; it is open with a limited menu on Fridays and Saturdays until 2:30 am. The big screen TV offers a good seat on game day. For dessert, “Cold Bites" feature ice cream sandwiches made with freshly baked oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies, and smeared with chocolate ganache.
Bold Bite Bethesda4901-B Fairmont Av
Bethesda, MD 20814 (301) 951-2653 (BOLD) Bold Bite Union Station
50 Massachusetts Ave. (Lower level food court at UNION STATION)
Washington DC 20002 202-682-2653
Vegetarian options, kids meals, good fresh food for the whole family!