When we stopped in at Bolt Burgers this afternoon, the restaurant's touchscreen ordering system -- a big part of its value proposition -- was not functioning. So, our burgers were ordered the old fashioned way: by talking to a human being. A very nice human being who recommended the toasted peppercorn and herb "Bolt of Spice" blend, and guided us to some smoked gouda. In the human vs. robot battle, I guess this was a tie.
But without functioning touchscreens to dazzle customers, there's not much more to discuss than the burger itself. And though Bolt Burger has only been open a few days, and has yet to get into its promised hyper-efficient groove, the touchscreen system isn't the only thing that needs some adjusting.
Bolt offers more than 25 topping choices, but when ordering to-go, many of them -- the sauces, the lettuce, tomato and onion -- come on the side. The intent is to keep everything crisp and neat, a nice gesture, but it's also sort of a letdown when you unwrap the under-dressed burger.
It also means having to consult the menu as if it were a user's manual to figure out which sauce goes on which burger, easier said than done when certain sauces, like the tomato-sweet basil sauce and the cilantro-lime mayo, were difficult to tell apart without a taste-test.
Burgers that didn't come with a sauce -- like the Good Earth, topped with Swiss, roasted shallot and grilled mushrooms -- could have used some with which to cut the dryness.
Bolt's Burger is better than a typical fast-food burger, but doesn't yet leave an impression. Shake Shack remains triumphant, for now. Though, one fun thing about Bolt Burgers is the abundance of choice: Ordering it gave us flashbacks to the construction of our People's Burger earlier this summer.
Bolt Burgers, 1010 Massachusetts Ave. NW. 202-320-9200.