Stewart’s is the kind of neighborhood joint you dream about when you’re searching for a new home. It’s small, it’s on a corner. It’s named after a restaurant that stood in the same spot since the ’40s. The food is so good you’ll want to come back time and time again.
There’s both inside and outside seating, but on a hot summer day, all we wanted to do was bask in air conditioning. So inside we went, and settled into a cozy corner booth. We ordered the smashed burger — a double, with Korean fries — and the kimchi hash.
But first, we had a round of cocktails, which were thoughtfully mixed, with deep flavors. We got the 5-rum daiquiri, as Hemingway would have had it, and the spicy mezcal margarita. Other cocktails looked delicious, and the bar looked ripe for long conversations and multiple rounds with friends.
The food was beautifully presented, with an interesting emphasis on Asian flavors, starting with kimchi hash. A single, perfect sunny-up egg is draped atop potato wedges, kimchi, tender braised beef, charred edamame, and red peppers. Black sesame seeds adorn the egg, and ssamjang sauce adds sniffle-inducing spice. Potatoes underneath the egg are particularly flavorful, having soaked up the yolk, the sauce, and the meat drippings.
Then there’s the burger. It’s one of the best I’ve had, and not for any bells and whistles … though butter may have something to do with it. The meat is ground in house and fried with tons of butter, served with gooey white American cheese, crisp lettuce, a healthy dollop of mayo, and pickles on a crunchy brioche bun. Then there’s the Korean fries, dusted with Korean chili flakes, served crisp and delicious with honey-laced ssamjang sauce and miso aioli.
We also got a green salad, which was a fresh and welcome complement to the heavier entrees.
The space is small but formidable, with attentive, friendly service, and an atmosphere that makes you want to stay twice as long as you should. Frank Sinatra playing in the background, twinkle lights, and the endless smell of good food are enough to keep you here after lunch until dinner is served.