Z-Burger Review

New McLean restaurant is mediocre

Z-Burger’s food, featuring a cup of fries, a fairly middle of the pack burger, and a disappointing hot dog.

Rating: 6.5/10

Recently, the Washington D.C.-based burger joint Z-Burger launched a new location in McLean. According to their website, Z-Burger has been featured by various popular television channels and newspapers. Could Z-Burger become the go-to spot for an afterschool snack?

However, the building isn’t entirely Z-Burger’s as it shares the building with another restaurant named Maman Joon Authentic Persian Kabob. The two franchises co-exist right next to each other, splitting the building into two kitchens while conveniently sharing the seating space.

We ended up ordering a single bacon cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, mayo, ketchup, and mustard. For our sides, we got one order of regular-size Z-Style fries, a chocolate milkshake, and a cheesy bacon hot dog.

The wait for our food was about average for a fast food place, around 5 minutes. However, the wait for the milkshake was much longer than expected, taking 10 minutes to get it.

They served the Z-Style fries in a cup inside a paper bag. For the price of almost 6 dollars, you certainly got your money’s worth—at first glance, at least.

They tasted atrocious. Unlike thin, crisp, McDonald’s fries, these were thick cut. They were bitter, soggy, and all-around painful to eat. They felt like you were eating an entire baked potato with each bite. Even with ketchup, we couldn’t finish them and had to throw them away.

Then, we tried their bacon cheeseburger. The burger came wrapped in foil, despite our for-here order, which deformed the airy, poofy look of the buns, squishing them into thin wedges. The American cheese, having the consistency of plastic, was unmelted on several sides of the burger. This gave the burger an almost school lunch-type look.

Despite the unappetizing appearance, the burger was surprisingly quite delicious. The thin patty, comparable to a Shake Shack burger patty, ensured that the flavor wasn’t dominated by the taste of ground beef, instead coming to a nice balance with the toppings. The lettuce was nice and crunchy, and the tomato and pickles added great flavors.

However, the bacon was stale, and it was clear it had been sitting out for several hours. In addition to the stale bacon, the buns were sub-par. Squished and damp, these buns lacked any crunch, not even a light sear on the inside. Nonetheless, the delicious patty and toppings took over, making for an overall tasty burger.

By now, our mouths were dry, and we needed a refresher. After a long wait, the milkshake finally arrived. The appearance didn’t exactly look like a fluid, homogeneous milkshake, rather it looked like soft-serve ice cream partially melted in a cup. You could still see a clump of ice cream surrounded by a pool of melted ice cream.

In terms of flavor, I couldn’t complain. It’s pretty hard to mess up the taste of chocolate. The texture, however, is where I was less on board. It was a dense milkshake; I had to exert a decent amount of force to travel up the straw.

Finally, last on our list was the cheesy bacon hot dog, which was 100% kosher. The sausage had a unique presentation. It was split down the middle, lying flat like salami on a Subway sandwich. Unfortunately, the cheese was the same, plastic-like, American singles, unmelted in certain spots.

The hot dog tasted like a regular hot dog you could air fry from your freezer—nothing noteworthy except the unnecessary, gimmicky presentation. The taste wasn’t nearly as inedible as the fries, but it was far from good. The bacon, which was far more prevalent in the hot dog, was very stale. The cheese tasted bad and stuck to the insides of your mouth.

The bread was perhaps the only good thing about the cheesy bacon hot dog. The bread was sweet and smooth. You could tell it was a high-quality bun purely by its appearance, which looked like brioche bread based on the almost glossy finish. Unlike the burger buns, the hot dog buns didn’t look like they had been bought from the Giant just down the street.

Overall, Z-Burger’s items were hit or miss. If you know what to get, you could definitely leave satisfied. But a restaurant isn’t defined by just its food. Z-Burger’s customer service was exceptional. The manager walked around the restaurant, ensuring that everyone was enjoying their meal, almost as if we were fine-dining. However, another thing to add was the shake cups. The cups were plastic, and there was no recycling bin inside the restaurant, so all the paper and foil went right to the garbage.

Z-Burger gets a 6.5/10 for its tasty burgers, decent shakes, and excellent customer service. It loses 3.5 points due to its lack of environmentally friendly options, disgusting fries, and sub-par hot dogs.