Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding Religion With the (New) Luther - Breakfast at ChurchKey

There are, we know, two kinds of eaters in this world.  There is the deus ex machina, you-are-what-you-eat variety, who regards the human machine as sacrosanct, as a corporeal temple in the ad maiorem gloriam sense, and whose food consumption is wholly (if angrily) based on a differential calculus of sphincter-puckering complexity wherein derivatives such as nutritional content, sustainability, and ethical harvesting and/or slaughter methods determine the function of whether that Twinkie he is so deeply jonesing for gets shoved into his sanctimonious gobhole, or not.  And then there’s the other kind of eater.  The kind like me.  The kind who believes that within the great bosom of the world beats the heart of assassin, that we’re all just food for worms (the old king-that-ate-of-the-fish-that-ate-of-the-worm-that-now-eats-of-the-king ouroboros of Shakespearian logic thang), and that we’re all just polishing the brass on the Titanic before it goes down.  The kind of eater whose world-weariness and fatalism turns him into a gastronomic bon vivant, a lamp shade-wearing, Hunter S. Thompson-styled fuck-it-I’ll-eat-it kind of omnivore willing consume pretty much anything I come across as long as it wasn’t first tazed or tortured or doused in ammonia or purveyed by a king or laughing clown.

For this kind of eater (and if you’re reading this, that’s likely you) I have the breakfast sandwich for you, friend-o.  It’s the New Luther at Washington, D.C.’s magnificent ChurchKey.  There’s just one catch:  it’s not on the menu (you have to ask your server for it).  And it’s only available on Sunday from Noon to 8PM.  But you already knew that, didn’t you, eh hipster?

In it’s original form (whose progenitor, legend has it, is Mulligan’s bar in Decatur, Georgia), the Luther, named for singer Luther Vandross, is an all-beef patty topped with bacon and sandwiched between two Krispy Kreme donuts.  At ChurchKey, the New Luther is decidedly more haute and high-rent.  At ChurchKey, pieces of boneless, buttermilk fried chicken replace the beef burger, the bacon goes uptown with an applewood smoke, and the Krispy Kremes are replaced with two house-made brioche donuts, glazed with maple-chicken jus, and topped with pecans.  Think of it as a bold new riff on the chicken-and-waffles Southern flavor combinations, with salty and sweet doing those naughty things they do so well together.  The chicken is perfect.  The buttermilk comes through magnificently with a lovely bite of black pepper right behind it.  The bacon is wonderfully smoky.  The brioche is perfectly unsweet behind the perfectly pitched goodness of the maple glaze.  (And all this paired with a truly lovely breakfast stout).  One bite of the New Luther and you’ll likely blush.  And you didn't think you could do that anymore, did you?  Blush, that is.

You could go to ChurchKey for any of their 550 beers from over 30 countries.  You could go to ChurchKey for any of their 50 beers they offer on draught.  You could go to ChurchKey for the 5 cask-conditioned ales they keep in constant rotation.  But you won’t.  You’ll go for the New Luther.  The best breakfast sandwich in America.  Says me.  And you’ll go for the London Calling-era Clash aplay on the in-house system.  And the Lipitor endorsement deal that is surely in your post-New Luther future.

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