Published: February 10, 2014
Last year was big for Wendy's. The square-burger chain created a nationwide, fast-food frenzy by introducing pretzel buns. They looked different and tasted different, and Wendy's threw the kitchen sink at pretzel buns: If it fit between two slices of bread, it went on a pretzel bun.
A few months later, Wendy's was back, serving burgers and chicken on a buttery, French-style brioche bun. Now Wendy's is going to the bread well again, and coming up ciabatta.
The new slogan is "Gotta ciabatta," and I gotta tell you ... another winner. It's worth the carbs.
Here's the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger blueprint: a 1/4-pound beef patty, roasted chopped tomatoes, creamy rosemary-garlic aioli, fresh spring mix, a slice of asiago cheese and applewood-smoked bacon on a toasted ciabatta bun. Stop me when I say something that doesn't sound delicious.
The $4.79 price tag for a single-patty burger is getting up there. By the time you're done, with fries and a drink, you're nudging the $8 parallel.
So it's a bellyful costing a walletful. But we're about the bottom line here: How does it taste, and is it worth the big bucks? Tastes great, and more filling.
Ciabatta is a light, airy bread with tiny air pockets to catch the beef runoff and whatever else is on your burger. It's a terrific sandwich bread, with more bite than a plain burger bun. It's simply more interesting than a burger bun. Those sop holes come in handy, because Wendy's piles on the toppings. The Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger is a Messy Marvin, but sloppy is a flavor booster.
The roasted chopped tomatoes and rosemary-garlic aioli are new at Wendy's. The chopped tomatoes are similar to bruschetta - love it. The aioli, I can lose. And if you hold the aioli, you're lopping off 100 calories and 14 fat grams. You won't miss it - the tomatoes and cheese provide plenty of moisture. If you need a condiment, try mustard.
The Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger is Wendy's shot at the upscale (for burgers) Five Guys and Smashburger crowd. We're talking a legit, big-time, quality burger here. Quality costs you. But it's worth it.