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House-Made Condiments: An Eater Rundown

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Photo: R. Lopez

Plain old Heinz just won't cut the mustard anymore—restaurants are making their own condiments in house, and these aren't typical burger toppings. From smoked onion marmalade to cilantro raita, there are all sorts of creative sauces on top of burgers.

Victor Albisu is opening two restaurants this spring, and each will serve burgers with housemade condiments. At Del Campo, try your burger topped with burnt tomato ketchup or heart of palm aioli, while Taco Bamba will be making a burnt guacamole, made by charring avocado, tomatoes, onions, and lime and then dicing them and adding cilantro.

Proof's crispy shrimp burger is topped with pickled daikon and carrots, which Haidar Karoum makes in house. He juliennes, salts, and rinses the vegetables, then submerges them in a mixture of rice vinegar, water, and sugar.

Those who head to The Source for lunch and order the American Wagyu Burger get it with smoked onion marmalade and herb aioli, both of which are made in house. The onion marmalade is made by wok-smoking red onions with brown sugar and plum and port wines, while the herb aioli adds parsley, chives, and garlic to mayo. 

At P.J. Clarke's, the housemade tater tots are served with smoked tomato ketchup that's made in house. Customers can also ask for it to be served with regular fries or on burgers, too.

Several restaurants offer plays on fast food Thousand Island-style sauces. At Del Frisco's Grille, the double-stacked burger is topped with "Sloppy Sauce," a housemade blend of chili, ketchup, and mayo spiked with garlic, cayenne, onion, and paprika. At Red Apron's newly opened shop in Merrifield, Virginia, Nate Anda is offering a burger topped with housemade pickles, tomato, lettuce, cheese, and Anda's "island sauce."

At Birch & Barley and ChurchKey, Kyle Bailey's brat burger is topped with a housemade beer-braised sauerkraut.

Cuba Libre's burger is topped with housemade tomatillo relish that's made with cider vinegar, yellow mustard seed, celery seed, coriander seed, onions, jalapeño peppers, tomatillo, and red bell peppers.  

Housemade ketchup is on the menu at Cork, where French fries are tossed with parsley, garlic, and lemon and served with the tomato dipping sauce.

At Virtue Feed and Grain, the new spring menu features a "Virtuous" burger served with fries. Customres can select a house dip to complement the dish, such as tartar sauce, malt vinegar aioli, or green goddess dressing.

The indecisive should go to Burger, Tap & Shake for the AP sauce, which combines all the major condiments—it's a blend of mayo, ketchup, mustard, housemade BBQ sauce, and chipotle sauce. They also make an XXX sauce, which pan-blackens seven different types of peppers, onions, and tomatoes, then blends them. There's also a lemon garlic aioli on the High Thigh Chicken Burger and cilantro raita on the Haight-Ashbury Falafel Burger.
—Amy Cavanaugh
· All Previous Burger Week 2013 Coverage [-EDC-]

Taco Bamba - Penn Quarter

777 I Street Northwest, Washington , DC 20001 Visit Website

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar

801 9th Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 408-1600 Visit Website


300 12th Avenue South, , TN 37203

Taco Bamba

4000 Wilson Boulevard, , VA 22203 (571) 777-1477 Visit Website

Birch & Barley

1337 14th Street Northwest, , DC 20005 (202) 567-2576 Visit Website

The Source by Wolfgang Puck

575 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, , DC 20565 (202) 637-6100 Visit Website


3636 Mckinney Ave., , TX 75204 (214) 780-0373 Visit Website