A place that calls itself Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers is usually seeking for trouble, right? It’s most mouth-watering critics of any fathomable stripe, from Yelpers to yours truly, to expel a prejudiced eye on a (self-proclaimed) highfalutin fare.
Melt’s plcae approach out in Leesburg doesn’t assistance a case, as if a place is stealing 30 or so miles from Washington and a maestro Pinocchio spotters. The emporium is tucked into a forest-green Bellewood Commons offered center, that looks like a cranky between a sport board and Ted Nugent’s carport. The counter-service corner is sandwiched between a UPS store and a Papa John’s. If you’re judged by a association we keep, afterwards Melt, during initial sniff, carries a sniff of a wannabe chain.
All my cynicism melted divided a impulse we walked into a place. we felt as if we had entered a Baltimore diner, not a suburban burger corner with a self-important name. The grill is a estimate distance of a Post-it note, and when we initial visited, any chair was taken and some-more diners were lined adult opposite a wall, possibly watchful for takeout or reviewing a paper menu. The open kitchen was crowded, too, as a organisation of jacketed cooks prepped and flipped patties. The atmosphere smelled of grilled beef and charred onions, and a lady during a money register called me “hon.”
Is this heaven?
No, it’s Leesburg.
The lady during a register, we learned, was Debbie Hancotte, co-owner of Melt and a pinkish if I’ve ever met one. She didn’t know we was a maestro eater — because would she, when Melt has been handling given 2012 with hardly a sight from a D.C. paper of record? — so she was honestly endangered about a heft of my meal. we had systematic a Paris burger (topped with Brie, balsamic-glazed red onions, baby spinach and Dijon), a cheeseburger with a cut of American, a side of onion rings and a Bell’s Two Hearted, one of many glorious qualification beers here. we explained that we had hardly eaten all day, that was true, though also a cover.
When a annuity arrived during a table, we accepted her concern. The burgers are half-pound beasts, plump and loosely shaped with an 80 percent gaunt Angus brew of brief rib, brisket and pitch (with maybe other trappings combined into a mix). The patty is tucked into a easily toasted, house-made sourdough bun, a tip of that balances on a Jenga building of toppings like a bowler shawl on Ichabod Crane. There’s a reason a kitchen pierces any burger with a skewer: Without it, these ground-beef monuments would disintegrate underneath a weight of their possess ambition.
My cheeseburger was textbook. The thick, one-inch patty was parched and coated with cheese that clung like a soppy suit. The interior, pinkish and inviting, oozed juices all over a wax-paper-covered waiter tray that ferried my burger to a list as if it were being presented to royalty. The burger was a tad underseasoned, but, given how most we desired it, my censure carries all a management of a film censor who claims “La La Land” would have been improved if Ryan Gosling had ragged improved shoes. The usually emanate we had with a Paris burger and a ripe, runny Brie was that we couldn’t finish it all.
This kind of burger qualification does not occur by accident. Turns out Debbie, 57, and her husband, Steve Hancotte, 66, are aged pros in a liberality business. Steve is a classically lerned cook and Debbie a maestro front-of-the-house manager. They deliberate retirement after offered their restaurants on Hilton Head Island, S.C., though when they arrived in a D.C. area — Steve’s aged stomping belligerent — they satisfied they were “too immature to retire.” So they entered a burger business once they schooled Leesburg was starving for something some-more worldly than those sticking small beef sacks from Mickey D’s.
Despite a little space, Steve Hancotte produces some-more than 15 opposite burgers, not counting a daily specials. The pile crab burger might be prepared with specimens from a Gulf of Mexico (cue a haters in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1), though a strength is fresh, purify and sweet. Somehow, a crabmeat even binds a possess opposite a tomato, red onion and lemon-caper aioli. My Greek lamb burger was a few degrees warmer than my requested medium-rare, though we hardly beheld once we slathered it with a tart, house-made tzatziki. My Tex-Mex burger was a 10-gallon shawl of mixture — peppers Jack cheese, pico de gallo, jalapeños, roasted-corn-and-black-bean salsa, guacamole, chipotle salsa — that no bun could corral. So don’t even try. Just have a flare accessible to scratch adult those tasty bun deserters.
Order adequate burgers, and we start to know Steve Hancotte’s moves: He’s from a more-is-more school. His veggie burger, done with black beans and roasted white corn, seems to embody some-more mixture than processed nuggets do. But this is all we need to know about it: Although mushy, like so many veg burgers, a patty conceals cold muffled bursts of honeyed and hazed peppers. The ahi tuna burger pulls off a cold trick, too: It pairs watercress, with a horseradish kick, with a wasabi aioli though strenuous a sushi-grade fish. The usually skip for me was a (over) grilled duck bar “burger,” a mash-up of dual sandwiches that did conjunction any favors.
Although both start from frozen, a fries here are distant higher to a rings. The fries are skin-on, with usually a right ratio of spuddy interior to light, crispy interior. The “ooey gooey” mac and cheese is value a spin, too, though don’t get trustworthy to, say, a sharp, eccentric Smithfield-ham-and-white-cheddar combo: The gooeyness changes monthly. Fortunately, a malts and shakes stay a same: smooth, abounding and creamy, done with Blue Bunny ice cream and whatever anniversary fruits are available.
Clearly, Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers deserves a name it gave itself. Now, a owners usually need to open a plcae closer to a District, which, I’m told, is in a works.
525 E. Market St., Leesburg.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Prices: Sides, $1.95-$5.95; burgers, $6.95-$17.95.