The Steakhouse Burger, a Meaty Jewel in Burger King's Crown

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Burger King
5345 Transit Rd, Williamsville, NY 14221
Web: Burger King
Phone: 716.688.5595
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"It's the 'A-1 trick,' whereby the addition of A-1 Steak Sauce virtually guarantees that any meat product will be at the very least edible, and quite possibly completely succulent."

The arguments between Californians and New Yorkers over the country's best hamburgers would be the stuff of legend if the topic wasn't widely considered to be so trivial. Californians typically claim, in a very matter-of-fact way, that In-N-Out's burgers are without parallel in the universe: ask any native about the place and you'll likely hear some variant on the "I go there right after stepping off the plane" story. Buffalo, like most cities, doesn't have In-N-Out, and it's hard to imagine people here having anywhere near that level of enthusiasm for the small chain's limited menu of fried burgers. Yet Buffalo also doesn't have Carl's Jr./Hardee's, Jack in the Box, White Castle, or any of the other better-known burger chains that have achieved substantial regional success in this country; for now, diners here have three chain options: McDonald's, Wendy's, and Burger King. Of these, the grilled Burger King hamburger is unquestionably the best, and with the recent introduction of its premium-quality Steakhouse Burger, the Florida-based company moves closer into the Six Dollar Burger territory Carl's Jr. started mining with great success seven years ago.

With the Six Dollar Burger, Carl's Jr. pushed a simple, smart message: we'll sell you a big, sit-down-restaurant-style $6 burger for $4, which sounded like a good deal until you realized you were about to spend only $5 or $6 for your entire fast food meal. This burger, which starts with nearly a half pound of grilled ground beef and works its way up in calories from there, now comes in twelve versions, including bacon, double, chili cheese and prime rib varieties. If you're not stuffed with the original, which by all rights you should be, the upgraded ones will do their damnedest to put you in an early grave. We mean that, of course, in a nice way.

Burger King's Steakhouse Burger relies upon several different tricks to achieve greatness. Like the Six Dollar Burger, it uses an Angus Beef patty, but the patty is long and wide rather than thick to convey an artificially greater sense of size. Similarly, instead of loading the thing up with fresh onions, a full lettuce leaf or pickles, Burger King tosses on chopped lettuce, fried onions, and similar tomatoes to Carl's. Though the lettuce and tomatoes are roughly equivalent, the fried onions give the Steakhouse Burger a major taste advantage, and a slightly better than Carl's, gently toasted bun almost completes the experience. That's when the Steakhouse Burger plays its last card.

We call this the "A-1 trick," whereby the addition of A-1 Steak Sauce virtually guarantees that any meat product will be at the very least edible, and quite possibly completely succulent. Burger King skips Carl's use of ketchup and mustard in favor of the A-1, and though both augment their sandwiches by default with cheese and mayonnaise, we consider both of those items to be merely dilutive of the beef, fried onion, A-1 and bun experience. This is, so long as it's freshly cooked, a delicious burger - the sauce and onions make it better than the Six Dollar version, and surprisingly, it's safer to eat, too.

At 840 calories, the Steakhouse Burger is a meal in and of itself, and the 430 calories of fat aren't going to do anyone's circulatory system or waistline any favors. But the original Six Dollar Burger starts at 1,010 calories with 600 from fat, while the Chili Cheese version starts at 1,110 and 630, respectively. Thankfully, all of these burgers can go lower in calories if you leave off the cheese and mayo, and believe it or not, dropping the Six Dollar Burger's bun in favor of wrapped lettuce actually cuts its caloric count in half. So while we wouldn't call any of these options a "restrained" menu choice, customizing them can make them much healthier, and thus we're not afraid to enjoy one every once in a while. The Steakhouse Burger might even be worth more frequent Burger King visits.

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