Burger King recently announced its new Chef's Choice burger to much hype. The official press release describes the meat sandwich in flowery and loving terminology.
"Superior from every angle, this 5.5 ounce
flame-grilled burger is made with seasoned ground chuck and is topped
with thick-cut bacon, American cheese, crisp red onions, sliced
tomatoes, Romaine leaf lettuce and savory Griller sauce, all on an
artisan-style bun that will surprise and delight taste buds."
I purchased the Chef's Choice Burger, which is $4.99 for the burger, $6.99 for a value meal with small fries and a small soda. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised. Wrapped in paper, the burger was thick and juicy looking. Unlike most fast food burgers, the sandwich wasn't squished and all components were easily identified and the correct color. Tomatoes were orange, onions were purple, meat was brown, and bacon was a deep umber.
Unfortunately, the burger didn't live up to the look. The meat was salty, flavorless, and had a strange chemical aftertaste. The cheese was a yellow piece of plastic, and the Griller sauce was green mayonnaise. Only the bacon was partially edible. After two bites I fed it to the dogs. The fries? Let's put it this way - the Donner Party wouldn't have eaten them. An hour later, I still have mild heart palpitations, possibly from the obviously high sodium content.
For around five dollars there are much better burgers to be had. Here are five better choices, all within a buck or two of the BK bust:
5. Sakaya Kitchen
Richard Hale's Bulgogi Burger ($6.99) is an Asian-inspired version of the classic bacon cheeseburger. Charred Angus beef gets topped with tator tots, spicy cheese sauce, pork, and spicy mayo.
4. BGR The Burger Joint
BGR serves up burgers made from prime, dry-aged, all natural, hormone
free, grain-fed beef on a brioche bun ($6.99). Add Applewood smoked bacon ($.99) and cheese (.$99) to create your own bacon cheeseburger. Inventive sides like asparagus fries ($3.89) and sweet potato fries ($3.99) and that crazy soda machine that lets you custom make a strawberry Fanta/Sprite/Diet Coke make this place worth the trip.
3. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
There are almost as many Five Guys locations as there are Burger Kings, but the burger is vastly superior, since it's made from fresh ground beef, not a frozen hockey puck (there are no freezers at Five Guys). A bacon cheeseburger with an almost unlimited array of toppings prices out to $6.69. Added bonus: free peanuts!
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2. DGB Damn Good Burger
DGB's Black and Blue burger was named one of Miami New Times Favorite Dishes and we stand by that decision. The burger is made from a blend of black Angus, chuck, short rib and brisket. The peppered bacon resembles a spicy pastrami, and the cheese compliments, not overwhelms. For $6.70, it's a damn good deal.
1. Shake Shack
Danny Meyer's homage to the roadside stand is outstanding and his burgers are still the benchmark by which others are measured. $4.75 buys you a single Shack burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and Shack sauce. Since they're small, you may want to go for the double Shack for $7.25. Still a good value.