Bonus Burger 7: Mr. Lew Vs. The Ringmaster | Mr. Lew's Great Burger Search

500 Sainte-Catherine O.
Montreal, Quebec

Metro:  McGill
Bus:  STM 15, 61, 168, 420

Visit:  September 1, 2011

I am not a regular Burger King visitor or supporter, though I was happy when the creepy mascot was retired.  As a matter a fact, they should be lucky if I make it there once a week.  What caught my attention was a special limited time burger.  Lately, I’ve been doing my best to try the unique things fast food restaurants try to use to drag in customers.

My first mistake was entering the location at the wrong time of day.  This particular place is actually open 24 hours a day.  However, my coming in at 1:00pm was still smack dab in the midst of lunch rush.  The sheer amount of people waiting in front of the counter was daunting.  I’m pretty sure I spent more time waiting in line than it took me to eat the burger trio.

What didn’t help was the amount of incredibly patience testing happenings while I had to stand there looking like a doofus.  The first one were two women arguing over one of them pushing their way in.  I don’t think I got there early enough to find out how it really started.  You’re at a Burger King, are you really fighting over who got there first?  Is the food really that good that you need it sooner?  You chose to go there, so you know what you’re getting.

The second thing that really irked me was a party of four individuals, who once they got to the front, had absolutely no clue as to what they wanted.  Now, being the wonderful individual that I pretend to be, I pride myself in always being prepared when I’m in a fast food situation.  It reminds me of a bit from John Pinette’s act.  If you got no idea what you want, get out of the line!

What didn’t help matters was the fact that in the middle of the counter, was a cashier in training.  I’m not going to blame that facet of the experience because there is no better way to get used to things then using a baptism by fire.  The part that irked me was the fact that my cashier, while I was patiently waiting, spent a few minutes there instead of getting things together in their line.

Since I mentioned the cashier serving my line, it’s due time to analyze what was happening there.  I was watching as plenty of burgers were ready at the pass.  While the burgers were sitting there, the nice cashier kept taking orders, helping other cashiers, and did everything but put orders together.  Looking at 2 empty trays didn’t help my mood a bit.  They stayed empty as thing moved up.  When 2 orders were filled, another 2 were taken, and the process continued.  When I finally got to the cash, I had to repeat certain aspects of my order more than once.  As the cashier took the two steps to the soda machine, I had to repeat what I wanted again.  I contemplated switching lines more than once.  The line next to mine had people who came in well after I did and got served before I did.

After all that waiting, I’m kind of wishing that I went to another location.  There are two other Burger Kings on the same street, within reasonable and close walking distance.  This location is by far one of the busiest lunch fast food places I’ve been to recently.  If you’re pressed for time, I suggest trying your luck elsewhere.  If you have time to waste, like me, you can wait in line while the entertainment ensues.

Are You Ready to WHOPPER???

Ringmaster Whopper Trio

Ringmaster Whopper - Wrapped

Ringmaster Whopper

This burger contains lettuce, tomatoes, Whopper sauce, cheese, onion rings, and bacon.

The reason I had to try this burger is because of the onion rings.  It’s been at least 20 years since I last had a Whopper.  From what I remember, there was no bacon ever in it.  So, having a Whopper with onion rings, cheese, and bacon was a real captivating point for me.  Now, I’ve had a few burgers with onion rings in them and I was never thrilled by them at all.  Fast food burgers are completely different animals from what I normally do.  It’s not the same quality, despite what it may taste like.

I placed a picture of the advertising here to demonstrate the fact that you will never, ever get what is in the picture.  I challenge any fast food restaurant to present me a burger that looks exactly like what is in the picture.  It didn’t happen with the Baconator, the 1967 Burger, and it surely wasn’t the case here.  You unwrap the burger and what you get is a squished down version of what you really wanted.  I’m not being naive or anything, I just know better, thanks to hundreds of fast food burgers consumed over decades.

Now, I am not going to judge a burger because of the way it looks compared to a promotional picture.  What is really important to me is how the burger tastes.  I’m going to start by the most dominant taste I got from trying the Ringmaster.  While you’d like that to be the onion rings or bacon, it was actually the sauce.  The non-alcoholic sweet and tangy Bourbon flavored sauce really overpowered most of the burger.  To me, it was a stronger version of a mayonnaise.  It took me a while to get past that factor.  It wasn’t that the sauce tasted bad or anything, it’s just that I was looking for the other stars to shine.

The thing that should’ve been apparent was the featured onion rings.  If you’re calling your burger Ringmaster, shouldn’t you be able to taste onion rings?  I had a tremendously hard time tasting the actual onion rings.  The only reason I knew they were there, other than looking at them, was by the texture of the onion ring fried batter.  I know onion rings in general aren’t supposed to be strong in taste, but if it’s the star of a burger, I’d be expecting more.

The two items that stood out were the cheese and bacon.  Despite the fact that the sauce was stronger than them, those two supporting elements really held their own, like in most fast food burgers.  You actually knew that you had cheese and that you had bacon.  So, I was happy that they didn’t get lost.

The main thing that made me happy about the experience was the distribution of ingredients.  With every bite I took, I had an even amount of all the components of burger.  I know of other burgers I tried that didn’t quite have that same gelling that the Ringmaster had.  It’s like taking one bite and finishing all the lettuce.  The fact that the onion rings stayed put even if you ate half of it was quite nice.  I’m wishing that some of the higher end burger places would put in more care in the way they build their burgers.  They may not be popular with food fanatics, but fast food restaurants attract customers because they are consistent, something that you don’t find in an average restaurant.  I’m not talking about taste, that’s a whole other issues.

For a gimmick burger, it tasted quite good.  I probably could’ve done without the onion rings completely.  It’s like one of those ideas that can work on a permanent basis, but once you try it, you understand why it only shows up every so often.  I like what I could get from a burger like this, but after having finished it, I was a little underwhelmed.  Compared to other gimmick burgers, I would pick this one to stay a little longer.