In recent years, fast-food chains have been upping their game when it comes to burgers. No longer content to offer the same old greasy patties on boring buns, these restaurants are now experimenting with gourmet ingredients and unexpected flavors in an attempt to win over discerning diners. Arby’s, never one to be left behind, has joined the fray with its new steakhouse burger. At $5.99, it’s one of the more expensive items on the menu, but is it worth the price tag? Let’s find out.
Arby’s Dips a Hoof Into the Burger Game
Arby’s dipped a hoof into the burger game, debuting a menu item it says is bigger and higher-end than many of its competitors, a $5.99 steakhouse-style concoction that mixes 52% Waygu beef with its more pedestrian ground beef. At first glance, Arby’s burger is a thing of beauty. The bright red tomatoes and crisp green lettuce pop against the dark bun, and the thick patty is loosely packed, giving it a nice juiciness.
But looks can be deceiving. Take a closer look at that patty and you’ll notice that it’s oddly shaped, almost as if it’s been pre-formed rather than hand-pressed. That turns out to be the case; a quick Google search reveals that Arby’s gets its burgers from meat giant Cargill, which produces what it calls “perfectly portioned patties” for fast food chains. While mass-produced meat isn’t necessarily a bad thing—Cargill is a reputable company that adheres to high standards—it does take away from the illusion that you’re getting a fresh, handmade burger.
The other problem with the patty is that it’s just too big. At 1/3 of a pound, it dwarfs the buns it comes on and makes eating the burger an exercise in dexterity. I ended up having to deconstruct mine and eat the components separately; otherwise, I would have been picking burger bits out of my teeth for hours afterward.
The One Saving Grace: The Sauce
Fortunately, where Arby’s burger lacks in size and patty quality, it makes up for in sauce. This is no ordinary ketchup-and-mustard situation; instead, Arby’s has created a truly unique sauce that combines sweet and savory flavors in perfect harmony. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s in it—there’s a hint of smokiness along with some undetectable spices—but trust me when I say that you’ll want to buy this sauce by the bottle once you’ve tried it.
Arby’s new steakhouse burger is an ambitious attempt to enter the gourmet burger market. However, while the sauce is tasty and the price is right, the mass-produced patties and oversized buns leave something to be desired. If Arby’s can work on perfecting these elements, they may just have a chance at winning over discerning diners—but until then, there are better burgers to be had elsewhere.