Reviewing the Chains: The Roastburger at Arby's
I can't think of a more unappealing sounding name for a roast beef sandwich than Roastburger. It sounds like something the characters in a Dr. Seuss book would simply refuse to eat. Roastburger implies that there's a burger between the buns that's been roasted. That is certainly not the case.
Arby's is offering their new Roastburgers in three varieties: The All American, which comes with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, ketchup, mustard and "special sauce" (read: barbecue sauce), the Bacon Cheddar, which is the same as the All American minus pickles and condiments, plus peppered bacon and cheddar cheese, and Bacon and Bleu. I decided to try out the "Bacon and Bleu" variety as it sounded like the most unique thing on the menu.
My Bacon and Bleu Roastburger comes out in a cute cardboard container
almost exactly like the kind Big Macs come in. When I open the
container, I'm shocked by how well the "burger" is presented. So often,
comparing the fast food advertisements to the actual product is a laugh
riot. Burgers that look two inches thick on the menu come out pressed
as flat as a piece of cardboard with more toppings on the wrapper than
between the buns. The Roastburger looks almost exactly like it does on
the menu. The bun is thick and fluffy and you can actually see the meat
and vegetables separating the buns. Color me shocked. That is until I
lift off the top.
It looks like a bomb went off in my sandwich. The bleu cheese spread
(which should probably be called bleu cheese dressing) is slathered all
over the top bun, lettuce, tomato, and onions. Two small, sad looking
pieces of bacon cling to the top of the bun. Five pieces of roast beef
sit limp on the lower bun. I probably should have just tasted it before
inspecting it further.
But that experience wasn't much better than seeing the insides close
up. I'll focus on the good parts first. The bun is probably the best
I've had at a fast food restaurant. Light and fluffy, thick and just
chewy enough that it makes me wonder if they bake it in the restaurant
or get it shipped fresh from a local distributor. The roast beef is
juicy, well seasoned, and sliced paper thin. The Roastburger on a
whole, however, is not up to par. The bleu cheese which was poured all
over the sandwich is literally the only thing I can taste. It reminds
me of just about any generic dressing you'd find at the grocery store,
tasting more like vinegar than moldy aged cheese. The little strips of
bacon are limp and flavorless, and if it wasn't for the texture I'd
have no idea there were vegetables in the sandwich at all.
Overall, the Roastburger at Arby's is exactly like any of their roast
beef sandwiches slapped on a different bun and garnished with some
lettuce, tomato, and onions. If you're planning a trip to Arby's in the
near future, you might want to skip the $4 Roastburger. Kindly ask them
to put a roast beef and cheddar on a Roastburger's bun instead.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to South Florida dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.