Location: Eastern Market
Rating: 3 out of 5
Summary: An updated diner experience that best serves as an area option for breakfast or fantastic shakes
We emerged into the DC light at the early Sunday hour of noon, desperate for the kind of meal we could only get at a local diner. Our patience was thin and our location didn’t allow for the usual options so we made the trip to Eastern Market. We knew of Ted’s Bulletin from previous trips to Barrack’s row and had sampled their “adult” milk shakes, but this meal would by necessity not include any alcohol. After a longer than expected wait of 30 minutes, we were seated and given our mock-newspaper menu, the 1920s bulletin style fitting in with the roaring ‘20s theme of the restaurant. At the moment, the only roaring was our heads and we were all to too eager to order some coffee and our brunch.
While we did order coffee, we decided that the diner atmosphere demanded a milk shake. We ordered their coffee flavored shake, enjoying sips of fresh tasting ice cream. While we were not in a state to have them, their impressive list of shakes with added liquor and assorted alcohol is a great treat late at night when passing through Eastern Market.
It was hard to ignore something so unabashedly named Walk of Shame Burrito, especially when our server recommended it without a second thought. Breakfast burritos were not our usual faire, but the diner atmosphere swayed us to make an exception. A great lesson in not judging a book by its cover, the burrito turned out to be a great decision. Surprisingly tender sirloin steak filled a wrapped tortilla with scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheddar and a green chile sauce. Topping the burrito was a chedder-chili sauce that reminded us of some of the better chili we’ve had, working whimsically with the burrito’s interior. The added slices of avocado was a thoughtful touch, but added little taste when compared to what was already bursting from the flour tortilla’s seams. The paired hash browns were disappointing, bland and poorly cooked through, but still served as a means to soak up the remainder of the burrito’s sauce. As a note, the pictured bacon was ordered a la carte. Why? Because why not.
Our second ordered entree was the Buttermilk Country Fried Steak, crispy fried cube steak served with black pepper white gravy along with our choice of sides, mashed potatoes and onion rings. The breading of the steak had a nice peppered breading, but the battered meat had little flavor of its own and a tough texture to boot. Even the kitchen drowning the steak in white gravy did little to help the rough cut of beef. By the fault of either the heavy gravy or the preparation of the dish, cutting into the steak itself caused it to involuntarily shed its fried coating and made it a struggle to consume one complete piece. Although the onion inside of the battered rings had the sweet flavor of top grade yellow onion, the plain taste of the crumbled coating covered up most of the taste with a poor, bland breading. The mashed potatoes were creamy and packed a lot of butter, the preferred amount truly subjective to the diner’s own taste. However, the potatoes being served cold was not. On our next trip to Ted’s, we’ll likely be ordering something else.
There is much more to Ted’s Bulletin than the so-so entrees we were served. Homemade pop tarts, fresh deserts and nightly specials also fill the restaurant’s wall-mounted menus. The availability of good breakfast at anytime without being forced to visit an IHOP or College Park diner is handy in DC, but that mood hits us only so often after 2pm. If you’re hankering for a diner-quality breakfast or a fantastic milkshake while south of the Capitol, Ted’s is your place.