Ten From Bottom

It's hard to imagine going to a place enough times in five months to have had ten distinct dishes there. But then again, if a little lunchy pub with pretty decent, not-too-expensive food was around the corner from your work, making for a perfect Friday sit-down lunch spot for a group of you and your coworkers, then I'm sure you would have a much easier time believing that ten dishes is possible. And it is, at least at The Bottom Line near Eye Street and 17th Street NW in DC.

Soups, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, quesadillas, plates. Very lunchy. Very standard. Very dimly lit. But it has a unique charm and quality about it for its price that apparently keeps drawing me and my coworkers back on many Fridays. So now that you get the gist, without any further adieu, let's see if I can really get to ten.

1. Cheddar Burger: Their burgers are what they are known for, and I can't disagree. They're a bit awkward, as they are served on wide hot dog buns and thus shaped a little oblongly, but I think that actually gets you more burger. Plus, it's a great burger – always cooked to perfection with flavor and succulence. The mass of cheddar cheese they put on top, along with the standard burger toppings, makes this an awesome midday treat every so often.

2. Chalatenango Burger: They have about fifteen great burgers, but this is one of the more unique ones. It's the same great cheddar burger but with jalapenos and salsa on top. It sounds like a bit much at first, but it's not overwhelming and actually has a great flavor. The salt and spice really make it memorable for a burger.

3. Veggie Burger: Julia really likes their veggie burger, I think mostly because it's actually not a frozen one, a rare thing to find. They say it is made out of oats, brown rice and mushrooms, so that itself is interesting. It always looks very pretty, with a single slice of Provolone cheese melted over the top. I tried a couple bites, and for a veggie burger, is actually quite nice.

4. Roast Turkey Sandwich: Bottom Line's deli sandwiches leave much to be desired. The only one I ever ordered was supposedly roasted turkey on rye. It was actually bland, lunchmeat style turkey on the least rye-like, most Wonderbread-like pieces of bread I have had in quite sometime. Enough said. Not impressive.

5. French Onion Soup: I think I had seen every single one of my coworkers order this soup at least twice before I finally ordered it myself. It's Bottom Line’s house soup, and I am a huge French onion soup fan, so it was only a matter of time. The soup itself was pretty tasty, but not nearly as rich and hearty and deep-flavored as other great onion soups. The other problem was it was shrouded in an obscenely thick layer of cheese. I am all about cheese and croutons on the French onion soup but this was pushing it towards more cheese than soup. Plus, it wasn't an interesting French cheese like gruyere or fontina. I swear it was mozzarella.

6. Chicken and Almond Salad: Bottom Line actually has a fair amount of things that try to be healthy on the “lighter fare” section of the menu. The fact that that section contains the aforementioned French Onion Soup and Half A Sandwich makes me seriously wonder though. One of the healthiest items is actually not on that menu, but is the chicken and almond salad. It is hunks of barbecued chicken breast over salad with almonds, mandarin oranges, a little hard-boiled egg and tomatoes. With a light oil and vinegar, the salad was tasty, fresh and loaded with healthy components. A real winner for me.

7. Buffalo Chicken Sandwich: The grilled chicken sandwiches at Bottom Line seem to be quite popular. I bought into it once and ordered the Buffalo sandwich, a Buffalo-flavored grilled breast with some bleu cheese and Buffalo sauce. While it kind of tasted like Buffalo, it seemed a little forced. The flavor was pretty ordinary and the sandwich itself was a bit on the anemic side. The chicken was only like a quarter inch thick tops.

8. Cobb Salad: A pretty standard Cobb, how could they really go wrong? Well they didn't except for forgetting my bleu cheese, which is kind of crucial to a Cobb. It did have nice thick pieces of bacon and avocado and egg and a nice light dressing that made the salad enjoyable and not too heavy. The bleu would have been nice, but I suppose it made the salad a little healthier that they forgot and it was still tasty.

9. Mexican Wrap: My coworkers are also quite fond of the Bottom Line quesadillas, although I have never actually ordered one myself. I did try from their Mexican-inspired section, a Mexican wrap sandwich. It kind of had all the elements of a burrito, but in a wrap – grilled chicken, cheese, salsa, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado. I guess that's it, but in retrospect that sounds only mildly Mexican or burrito-like. In truth it could have been a really good sandwich, but the cheese was shredded and unmelted, which gave it kind of a chalkiness, and the chicken was over-marinated in some sort of vinaigrette, which really took away from the Mexican mentality of this wrap. Not horrible by any means, but frankly I could do better.

10. Blackened Tuna Steak Sandwich: I was a little surprised when I saw this on their menu, but when I asked the waiter, he said the sandwich was great blackened or grilled and that the tuna was fresh and high grade. So I ordered the sandwich medium rare and they cooked it to perfection, with a great blackened spice crust on the outside and the perfect pink in the middle. For only $10, this was quite a bargain, in my opinion, for one of the better fish sandwiches I have had in a while, and probably one of the better pieces of tuna I've had in a while.

Check out my reviews of these places in even more detail at Menuism.com!

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