DC: Ben’s Chili Bowl

April 26th, 2009
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Everyone’s talking about Ben’s Chili Bowl these days. It’s been months since the blogs were abuzz about the where to go in DC during the pre-inaugural festivities.
Ben’s, a fixture on the U Street strip that used to be called the Black Broadway, received particular attention after then President-Elect Obama stopping in to ask “What’s a Half-Smoke?”
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This is a Half-smoke, topped with everything, including the eponymous chili. It’s a damn good dog. Don’t let the shop’s name fool you, the chili is peripheral, the Half-Smoke is king. The meat is spicy and flavorful and firm enough to give just the right amount of resistance to the bite.
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The chili complements it extraordinarily well, but strictly in a supporting role. It’s a condiment, I probably wouldn’t eat it on it’s own any more than I would have a bowl of mustard or ketchup. It’s more a thick gravy that soaks into every pore and crevice of the bun extending the flavor of meat to depths unimaginable.
I’m salivating just thinking of it.

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