Spice up your burger options with Mélange’s fusion of Ethiopian and American flavors.
Mélange, which means “mix” in French, is located in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood at 449 K St. NW and is open for delivery or outdoor dining. When the restaurant can safely open for indoor dining, patrons will be able to enjoy their meals in an industrial, concrete-floored venue with vibrant white and blue-painted walls.
The restaurant is about a 30-minute walk from campus, so if you are in a rush, delivery may be the best option. I decided to make the trek to Mount Vernon Triangle to check out the location and save myself the delivery fee.
Mélange’s burgers cost more than your regular joint, but they go above and beyond your average burger. The Ethiopian-influenced recipes feature a blend of flavors and textures that fuse Chef Elias Taddesse’s cultural background with the American classic of a burger and fries.
The entree menu is brief with three choices of burgers, two chicken sandwiches and two vegan or vegetarian choices. Each option is equally mouth-watering, from The Italian burger ($14) with smoked mozzarella, tomato confit, arugula and spicy basil aioli to The Original chicken sandwich ($12) with buttermilk fried chicken, shredded lettuce, pickles and smoked dukes mayo. One vegetarian option, The Beyaynetu ($13), consists of a lentil beet patty, swiss chard confit, timatim salata and a spicy misir spread.
I opted for the highly recommended The National ($13) chicken sandwich, and any expectations I had were absolutely exceeded.
Starting off, the chicken was cooked using the flavors of doro wat, a spicy Ethiopian chicken stew, and fried perfectly, leaving the exterior crispy and the interior buttery. The chicken was topped with a sunny side up egg that was soft but did not burst when I bit into it.
The sandwich was dressed in a house-specialty kebe aioli and turmeric slaw, adding a cumin and subtly spicy flavor that was distinct but not overpowering to the curry-like flavored chicken. The sandwich was completed with a soft onion bun that had disintegrated a bit by the end because of all the slaw but was delicious nonetheless.
Mélange also offers savory sides. These standard yet dependably delicious options include hand-cut potato chips ($3), salted french fries ($4), sweet potato fries ($5) and mixed greens with a lemon vinaigrette dressing ($4).
I debated between the greens and the fries, but the fries were too hard to pass up. I was pleased with the slightly crunchy exterior and light, fluffy interior and felt they were adequately salted.
Mélange does not offer a drinks menu, but if you choose to order in person, you can purchase a classic soda from the drink’s refrigerator.
The restaurant’s dessert menu features four handcrafted ice cream flavors for purchase by the pint. I didn’t indulge in them this time, but I’d try the Coffee Cardamom ($10) and Shahi ($10) flavors on a future visit.
For a flavorful burger that is more than worth your money, head to Mélange for your new go-to spring spot.