The Exception Magazine is on a quest to find the best fast food meal in America. See our FAST FOOD POWER RANKINGS for all our reviews.
Last week, we embarked on a journey to discover the best fast-food signature burger with a review of Dave’s Double from Wendy’s. It had been quite some time since I had eaten Wendy’s and the lesson we came away with was that aesthetic and taste do not always correlate.
The reason I had been away for so long? I had been frequenting another restaurant that has claimed the largest chunk of the fast-food market: McDonalds. To put it in perspective, here are the current valuations of the big 3 fast food burger restaurants
- Wendy’s – $3.6 Billion
- Burger King – $12.5 Billion
- McDonald’s – $102.6 Billion
Do you know what the best part is about the numbers above? None of it makes any difference. We at the Exception Magazine hold all burgers to the same standards when conducting our reviews and all past experiences were not taken into consideration.
And with that, we move on to the Big Mac, one of the most iconic burgers in fast food history. Like with Wendy’s, we complemented the burger with fries and a coke and graded the meal in the same 5 unique categories
McDonald’s – Big Mac Review
Value – 8.3
Amazing what paying $1 less can do to one’s perception of value but with the Big Mac meal coming in at $7.89 (Wendy’s was $8.89), the overall value score got a slight boost. Additionally, this is still about $5 less than a typical New York City burger so any way you look at this, it’s a bargain.
Experience – 3.9
The poor ordering experience at this McDonald’s in the West Village of Manhattan set a negative tone for the rest of the review. I was the only customer in the store and 5 minutes after ordering, the cashier had to go to the back to yell at the people working to start making the food. That disruption must have annoyed these employees because to my horror, there was no cheese when I finally opened the burger at my apartment. The West Village McDonald’s should operate more like the Midtown Wendy’s.
Aesthetic – 7.1
Lack of cheese aside, I was quite impressed with the makeup and structure of the burger. It was well-assembled and balanced in such a way that no matter where I took a bite, the integrity of the burger was never compromised. The slight deduction in points is from the look of the actual burger patties which were much more dried out than Wendy’s.
Taste – 7.2
I am going to be the bigger person when evaluating taste and not factor in the lack of cheese as that is normally part of the product. The rest of the burger was an interesting journey of highs and lows. When I first took a bite, my senses were overwhelmed with an abundance of bread and a very small amount of dry meat. I was suddenly filled with feelings of disappointment and sadness until an unfamiliar taste started to spread over my taste buds. I knew immediately that it was none other than the McDonald’s special sauce, a mythical combination of mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish and yellow mustard, riding in to save both the meal and evaluation score.
An ever-faithful sidekick to the burger, these warm, delicious fries were that perfect texture that existed between crispy and soft that is often pursued and rarely achieved. If it wasn’t for the overwhelming abundance of salt, this may have been a top 5 fries experience of all time.
Quality – 5.9
One comment I used in the last review was that Wendy’s burger tasted fresh and that’s not the feeling I got here. While the bun was soft enough, these burger patties looked and tasted as if they had been sitting in a drawer in the back of the restaurant for most of the day, if not week.
Overall – 6.46
It’s a testament to the power of McDonald’s that despite the poor ordering experience, lack of cheese and dryness of meat, this meal could achieve a respectable 6.46 overall rating. No matter how many times they screwed up, the fact that I could have an enjoyable dinner for less than $8 just goes to show you why McDonald’s continues to dominate despite their occasional shortcomings. I still believe much more in the freshness of Wendy’s but sometimes you just need an ace in the hole and for McDonald’s, that’s the special sauce.
Important note: we have adjusted our methodology to make the points system more comprehensible to our readers. From this post onwards, each of the five criteria will be scored from 0-10 and then the overall score will be an average of all five scores. The overall score will still be the same result as it was using the previous method.