I knew when starting this battle that In-N-Out, a favorite among many, would likely be a top contender. Having been over a decade since my last visit, I took the opportunity on a recent trip to have a fresh tasting. I returned to the west coast staple with good friend, Chris, of Faces and Aces podcast fame.
A blast of rich burger smell, one of which we are all familiar, hit me as I walked in. The restaurant was absolutely packed despite it being late on a Monday night. Some were preparing for the night out, others just getting off of work, another, a young man, was trying his best to study among the cacophony of conversations and shouted orders.
As expected, the burger was as good as I remembered. Like Shake Shack, it’s a simple burger done right. Fresh, raw vegetables balance quality beef on a lightly toasted bun.
I enjoyed the Double-Double, a well structured, robust, but compact burger. The bun is plain but did the job of holding the burger together. While not as pretty as represented in pictures, what food is?
The beef is of high quality, but thin, so by default, the burger is cooked to about medium-well. This is a perpetual problem for fast-casual chains, and I don’t expect my burger to be cooked to order, but it diminishes the caliber slightly. Don’t get me wrong, every bite was delectable. However, even minor squabbles matter in this intense Burger Battle.
The mayo and ketchup based proprietary sauce accents the beef nicely. I expressed this in earlier reviews, but I’m not a fan of excessive grease, which is why I prefer raw onions to grilled. If you enjoy the latter, you’ll likely enjoy the not-so-secret Animal Style. I like to have some crunch and varying textures.
Setting off the meal are some of the freshest fries you’ll find anywhere, fryer dropped within seconds of being cut. Freshness, unfortunately, isn’t a harbinger for flavor. They’re beyond boring. I’m ready for the backlash.
But, as always, this is about the burger. I think those new to In-N-Out may be expecting some complex, intriguing ingredients, with all the hype surrounding the popular chain. Instead, they’ll find a classic, well-executed concoction- the quintessential American burger priced right. I’m jealous of my west coast friends. Don’t take this place for granted.