Review: Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s
Wendy’s has been one of the trailblazers in fast food when it comes to their ingredients. Over the last year or so they’ve really stepped up to offer more than just new sauces and cheeses. For the longest time it seemed like bread was the most ignored component of fast food sandwiches and Wendy’s has made that thought a distant memory. In 2013 we saw Wendy’s come out with multigrain flatbreads, pretzel buns with both the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and the Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich, and also a Brioche bun with the Bacon Portabella Melt. You can say what you want about Wendy’s, but no one can say they aren’t chockfull of variety in the bread department. The latest introduces another first for the Wendy’s brand with the Ciabatta bun on the new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger.
Wendy’s describes their new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger like this:
Savor something extraordinary with our new Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. It’s a quarter-pound of hot ‘n juicy beef topped with roasted, chopped tomatoes, creamy, rosemary garlic aioli, fresh spring mix, natural Asiago cheese and applewood-smoked bacon between a toasted Ciabatta bun. Hurry, it’s here for a limited time only, so you gotta ciabatta!
The goal of the Wendy’s brand is to offer premium ingredients and unique flavors in an effort to change our expectations of fast food. Is this approach really for everyone or does it alienate those just looking for the traditional four or five ingredients that we’ve come to know and enjoy? There’s an interesting mix of ingredients packed into this burger and it mixes some familiar Wendy’s flavors with some newcomers.
There’s an interesting combination of flavors going on with the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. On the traditional and familiar side you’ve got the seasoned beef patty which I believe Wendy’s does quite well in the fast food world. The beef ranks high for me when held up against the competition by providing the right balance of salty, beefy flavor without feeling weighed down with cooking oils. Applewood-smoked bacon is something Wendy’s does better than all the other major competition and there are two hearty pieces of it to get just enough in each bite. The bacon looks really good doesn’t it? There’s no mistaking the savory impact it has on a Wendy’s sandwich. Asiago cheese is something we’ve seen before in a number of Wendy’s items including the Asiago Ranch Chicken Sandwiches. The sharpness of Asiago is better suited on chicken sandwiches in my opinion didn’t do much to improve the burger overall. The Asiago seemed like a perfect fit amongst the other Mediterranean flavors, but that’s exactly where a few issues come to play. I understand the aim of the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger is to go for a certain style of sandwich by introducing us to a more mature taste, yet I’m not understanding why Wendy’s went with beef and not chicken.
The flavor of the rosemary garlic aioli was predominantly on the rosemary side which was slightly off-putting at first. After a few bites it seemed to work a little better and provided a nice creamy texture to the contrasting crunches and chews. I felt the spring mix did a nice job bedding and containing the sauce so I’ll give it a little credit. The roasted, chopped tomatoes were something I was nervous about based on the promotional pictures of this burger since they seemed to be piled on. Luckily the tomatoes weren’t the overkill I was anticipating and instead made for just a slight vibe of bruschetta. This vibe of bruschetta goes hand in hand with the Ciabatta bun which I found to be passable, yet still out of place with a burger. Ciabatta can be overly dry and “bready” in spots where its thickness rules over everything else. Describing the Wendy’s Ciabatta bun is pretty much like describing any Ciabatta for me and it’s more of a shot against the bread itself rather than a shot at Wendy’s. Maybe the Ciabatta could’ve been tweaked just a bit, possibly a little extra toasting to give it a more substantial crispness on the ends.
To sum up the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger in a single thought I’d say it would’ve been better off as a chicken sandwich. Priced at $4.99, it’s in the typical range of premium sandwiches at Wendy’s and it’s big enough to be filling on its own. I was open to the possibility of this working out successfully, but I found the true standout flavors to be all the flavors I’ve already come to recognize and enjoy. I’d be curious to try this style of sandwich in something other than a burger to see how well it works considering such ingredients as Asiago, roasted tomatoes and rosemary garlic aioli don’t really scream “burger” to me.
Pros: Wendy's beef patty and applewood-smoked bacon.
Cons: Ciabatta bread and all the other Mediterranean-inspired ingredients are better suited with chicken.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $4.99 for the 1/4 pound size
Overall GrubGrade: 6.25/10
More Info: http://www.wendys.com
670 calories, 39 grams of fat, 1260 milligrams of sodium, 42 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 32 grams of protein