The last time I went to McD's was in 2010 at LAX, one of the worst airports at which to eat. That day, I strayed from the burgers and got nuggets and a McFlurry. I used to go to McDonalds with my roommates on Sundays after playing disc golf. This is when I was a broke college student (2004-08) and having two of the Dollar Menu cheeseburgers was a preferable meal over ramen and saltines.
While watching NFL, a commercial advertising McDonald's new chef-inspired “Taste Crafted” burgers got my attention. The ad claimed that they hired gourmet chefs to prepare the new customizable sandwiches.
1260 Park Boulevard, East Village
Maybe McDonald's has changed. I convinced myself to try it out and visited their location by City College. The location had a half-naked homeless lady in the parking lot dancing crazily by herself. Inside, it was full of teenagers, a few homeless, one family, and other random people. At least the ads got one thing right: the restaurant had customers of every minority.
You can choose two different buns: sesame or artisan. Then you choose the burger style: Pico Guacamole, Bacon Dijon Mustard or Deluxe. And finally what type of meat you want: quarter pound beef, crispy chicken or grilled chicken.
The ad made the beef look great, so I ordered the Bacon Dijon with a quarter pounder patty on an artisan bun. And for kicks-and-giggles I made it a combo (I didn't even want fries). I also got the Deluxe with crispy chicken on a sesame bun separate to go.
"Damn machine," the cashier murmured to himself. "I am sorry, it is taking forever." The pimpled teenager looked at me apologetically. "Why isn't it letting me change to medium?!" He said to himself again loudly. I told him not to worry and just give me the large combo. After struggling with the machine, he finally gave me a receipt on a stick and told me he will bring the food to my table. McD's has table service, the large combo was $6.99 + tax, the burger by itself $5.49 + tax — the price made me think, Hey, maybe they have changed!
The teenager brought my food with a smile, was very attentive, offered me ketchup and told me if I needed anything else just to let him know. He wrote his name on the receipt and said I could go online to rate his service (Israel gets five stars).
Burgers were horrible. The meat was rubbery and didn’t taste like meat. They use the same beef as all other burgers, defeating the purpose of ordering a “chef crafted burger.” The bacon was laughable. It looked like a cardboard cut-off of bacon and tasted like that as well. The sauce looked disgusting and did nothing for the flavor. The bun was the only thing that was actually alright. The fries were an excellent vessel to transport ketchup to my mouth.
I took the chicken burger across the border to my apartment in Tijuana. It was nothing more than a sad simple chicken burger with a lot of mayo, nothing deluxe about it. The chicken was still edible and didn’t taste bad, I just don’t want to imagine where it came from though.
Other locations have more choices of the Taste Crafted menu and results may vary.