Rachel and I finally ventured out to the recently-opened Kraze Burgers in downtown Bethesda last weekend. The Korean-based chain decided to open its very first United States location in the Washington suburb, but is also planning to open several more stores in DC as well as Virginia.
The addition of Kraze Burgers would make this Bethesda’s fourth burger-focused outpost, following in the footsteps of BGR, Fresh Grill, and Five Guys. And that doesn’t even include all of the full-service restaurants that offer burgers on their menu, but we’re way too lazy to list all of those (though Freddy’s deserves some props for their patties).
So what differentiates Kraze from the rest of the pack? Well, they certainly offer one of the most extensive menus compared to their competitors. Their ordering is broken down into five components: 1) bread, 2) protein, 3) cheese, 4) free toppings, and 5) additional toppings. Kraze offers three different types of fresh-baked buns, even offering a “bowl of greens” option for those who decide to go bunless (for a nominal fee of 95 cents).
As for proteins, they offer all-natural hormone-free beef, turkey, grilled tofu, and vegetarian patties. Cheeses consist of the usual suspects (American, provolone, bleu, Swiss, mozzarella, and cheddar) while additional toppings range from grilled pineapple to a fried egg.
And while you can build your own burger, Kraze offers more than a dozen of its own concoctions. I happened to order their best-selling burger, The Matiz. It featured grilled onions marinated in their house BBQ sauce, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, and pickles, all stacked on a freshly-baked bun.
The burger was juicy and flavorful, but it was the grilled onions that really stood out thanks in part to the BBQ sauce. It gave the patty a hint of Asian flavor due to its tanginess. The bun was also noteworthy as it kept the burger intact without getting soggy, yet was soft and even had a little bit of sweetness to it.
Rachel did a build-your-own option since none of the combinations really appealed to her. She ordered a beef patty on a multigrain bun, lettuce, tomato, pickles, sweet onions, grilled mushrooms, and ketchup. She enjoyed her burger and thought that the multigrain bun added some texture but felt that the bun would have probably gone better with a veggie or turkey burger. The mushrooms were a nice added topping, and maybe she’ll be more a little more adventurous next time.
We also shared an order of fries as well as a side of grilled asparagus. Kraze certainly offers some of the most health-conscious items for a burger joint. Despite eating a burger, I didn’t feel bogged down the next few hours as the grease was kept to a minimum.
The prices are also fair. Burgers are around $7 each, and while that’s not Five Guys pricing, you’re also paying for better quality. It was certainly evident in the ingredients. While Bethesda now has a plethora of burger options, Kraze is a nice change of pace from your typical cheeseburger.