To be honest, for me the name Charred Foods, conjures a barbecue at the home of that friend who overcooks everything in their grasp. I know you have one too: the guy or gal who reduces animal protein (and probably vegetables too) to a blackened memory of what could have been.
But when I saw the menu at Charred, I started to trust that the chefs had something else in mind, despite the moniker they use on Facebook. In reality, it refers to the marks left by the grill on food that’s prepared over a fire of cherry and hickory. And they have no problem at all with giving you a burger that’s rare or medium-rare, but still kissed by flame.
I got delivery last week from the Herndon restaurant and while it’s still very early in my time in NoVA, I have a new go-to burger to dream about when I’m craving a beefy meal. It wasn’t easy choosing the Truffle Hunter Burger. The eight burgers on the menu are all compelling. Would it be the Three Little Pigs Burger, which combines slab bacon, pulled pork and bacon dressing with smoked Gouda? Maybe the Forager Burger, topped with pickled ramps, roasted portobello, brie and tomato jam.
But I just couldn’t resist the Truffle Hunter. Really, I would have been perfectly happy with a plain patty—the 6 ounces of well-seasoned, dry-aged beef was perfectly pink throughout with a wood-fired sear on the outside, atop a sturdy but soft bun.
But what burger isn’t better with some thin slices of tender, wood-grilled steak on top? Yeah, take that in for a second. Truffle mayo and shaved Parmesan conspire for a mouthful that explodes with umami. Fried onions add crunch, while a nest of arugula and a wash of balsamic reduction contribute tangy relief from the richness. If the components were deconstructed and presented as a fine dining dish, they would still be a success. It’s just that well-conceived.
The question is, will future meaty cravings be firmly aimed at the Truffle Hunter or will I be willing to taste my way through the appealing menu of patties, one by one?
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