I'm currently in the US for a business event. One of the things I've never done, but is practically a tradition for many of my friends when they're here, is to eat at In-and-Out Burger. So, I'm wondering what all the fuss is about. Is In-N-Out Burger that good? Or are the burgers overrated? I visited an In-N-Out Burger joint on the Las Vegas strip to find out.
In store service
The In-N-Out Burger menu is very simple. There are just three burgers to choose from; the hamburger, cheeseburger and double-double. I chose the hamburger and took the option of onions offered by my server. You can order the burger on its own or with a generous side-order of french fries which were about the same serving size as a large fries and McDonalds. I also grabbed a medium soft drink, which I poured myself from the dispensers.
When I arrived, there were four people in the queue ahead of me, and quite a few waiting for their meals. Most of the seats in the indoor restaurant area were full. But I found a seat outside in the sun.
From the time I walked into the restaurant till I received my meal, it took about 10 minutes. This was just before noon.
Here's what the picture on In-N-Out's menu promises.
And here's what I got.
At first glance, they don't look too different so, I was pretty happy that what I received was close enough to promise of the menu. It was a little smaller than I'd like - next time I'll order a Double-Double with two beef patties. That brings me to my first bite.
I assumed the onion would be somewhat more cooked than what I received. The onion in the burger was basically a slice that had been very lightly fried and, by the time I got the burger to my seat after to it was handed over, it was cold. However, it wasn't terrible to eat.
After a couple of bites I took a look at a cross-section of the burger. That patty is very thin - about 5mm at its thickest and the colour was not that appetising.
The bun was soft but didn't fall apart from the moisture of the tomato and other fillings. But the flavours were a little bland. There's wasn't anything wrong with my burger - it was just boring.
My side order of fries was barely passable. In-N-Out is very busy. About 20 orders were processed before mine as I waited for my meal to be delivered. And I suspect that has lead to some shortcuts being taken in the preparation process. One of those, at least based on my experience, was that my fries were a little undercooked. Not one of the fries was close to being crisp. They were all sad and floppy.
At least the drink was cold.
The total cost for my meal was US$7.95 - about $10.50 in our money. That's a lot dearer than McDonalds' current Double Beef and Bacon Deal which is $5. And it's a less filling meal than a medium Big Mac meal which is about the same price.
I'm not going to go out of my way again to hit In-N-Out. While it was not terrible, the burger was bland in my opinion. Service was good but I'm fussy when it comes to my burgers and the undercooked onion and uber-thin patty left me hungry. In-N-Out was OK it's hard to see why people rave about it. Sure, it's cheap but it seems to be a case of getting what you paid for.