Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review: McDonald's - Clubhouse Angus Burger

Happenstance (and a trip to SeaWorld), found me in San Diego where McDonald's is testing their version of a pub burger: the Clubhouse Angus Burger. Even though I was stuffed at the time, I tried it anyway. For the blog!

The most distinguishing feature of the Clubhouse Angus is an artisan roll. But that's not all, placed in that roll (it's a pun sorta) are grilled onions, hickory-smoked bacon strips, a slice white cheddar, a third-pound Angus beef patty, a slice of American cheese, a Dijon mustard sauce, and steak sauce.

The price is upper tier for McDonald's at $4.59.

Let's start with the artisan roll. It's crusty and feels quite sturdy; strong enough to stand up to a half-pound medium rare burger I'd say. Too bad that's not McDonald's forte nor inclination. Beyond the crust, there's a moist Ciabatta-like crumb. However, the crust was just slightly too thick and, I think, slightly dry as a result. Still, a very nice bun for a burger. It toasts up to a nice crunchiness while remaining soft inside I found out the next day and the poppy and sesames seeds give off a pleasing aroma. Since the burger doesn't have any fresh produce inside, it's ideal for the toaster oven.

The "cheese" slices are the standard pasteurized cheese product you find at McDonald's. While they melt well, they mostly just add a creaminess that's light on flavor. I think for this burger and at this price point, a single slice of real Swiss or Cheddar cheese would work out real well. I've been eating a lot of aged Swiss (like regular Swiss, but stronger!) lately in my sandwiches and it would complement the Clubhouse Angus Burger nicely.

The onions are mostly salty and heavily caramelized. They add a slightly sweet light flavor.

The bacon is the typical razor-thin fast food style bacon McDonald's is known for. It's light on flavor and doesn't provide much on the crispy front. Competitors like Burger King and Wendy's are moving with thicker bacon and I would like to see McDonald's follow suit. I would have at least preferred a bit more crunchiness from the bacon.

 
I really like the inclusion of Dijon mustard here. It provides a horseradish-like kick to the burger without being overpowering. The steak sauce is not as notable, but it's there and adds an A-1 tang. If you really want a Dijon kick, flip the burger upside town and eat it that way so that the Dijon hits your tongue first.

The McDonald's Angus beef patty is just okay for me and a bit mediocre for the segment. It brings the beef and not much else; a little more salt and pepper and some searing from the grill would work wonders. As it is, I'm not sure I could distinguish the taste between a McDonald's Angus patty and a Quarter Pounder patty.

While it does have its shortcomings, on the whole, I like the direction McDonald's is going with the Clubhouse Angus, especially the roll and the Dijon mustard blend. It's a bit on the pricey side for fast food, but I think the flavors and textures work well in providing a real premium burger for the McDonald's menu.

Nutritional info not available.
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