I spend a lot of time eating—and making—burgers. Specifically, smash burgers. The ultra-thin, minute-a-side patties that, when you double up on them, meld into a glorious, melty mini-sandwich of American cheese and special sauce inside its bun. When it comes to restaurants, Le Diplomate’s Burger Americain, crowned with French and American toothpick flags, has reigned supreme—it’s probably the DC restaurant dish I’ve eaten the most, and thanks to this recipe, it’s my family’s go-to entree when we’re having folks over for a summer dinner.
Thanks to chef Kyle Bailey at the newly-opened Salt Line near Nationals Park, there’s a burger that might just knock L’Americain off its pedestal, GLOW-style. There’s nothing fancy about it, which is also what’s so great about it. The griddle-smashed patties are chuck, and seasoned with salt and pepper. They’re layered with shredded iceberg, American cheese, thick-cut tomatoes, and bread-and-butter pickles (OK, a lil’ fancy, those are made in-house). For Bailey, a devout burger lover himself (the one at Beuchert’s is his favorite), the decision to smash was a practical one: “We’re a volume restaurant. If you’re making 300 a day, the idea of taking temps is intimidating.” I have a feeling he’s gonna be making a whole lot more.