Released earlier this month, the latest offering from Wendy’s is the Bacon Portabella Melt. Before I give my trademark witty, in-depth break down of this burger, I have some questions for Wendy’s.
First, where have you been? Last time you did anything interesting was when you came out with new sides (chili cheese fries, mac and cheese, baked sweet potatoes) like 5 months ago. Unless you count re-releasing the fantastic Asiago Ranch Chicken Club that never left my Wendy’s location, or creating a smaller version of the Baconator, all you’ve done since the sides is give the Frosty a new vessel, and even that’s pretty boring.
Second, who spells it “portabella”? I’ve always spelled it portobello, and was unaware of any alternate spellings. I thought maybe it was a male/female mushroom thing. A Google search concluded that while portobello is the original and most common spelling, either one is acceptable, as is portobella. Then again, Google also tells me that Nevada can be pronounced nuh-VAH-duh, when we all know the second ‘a’ is short, as in cat. In conclusion, never trust Google.
Alright, no more questions; let’s talk about the burger. The Bacon Portabella Melt features 3 strips of bacon, portobello mushrooms, two slices of American cheese, and cheddar cheese sauce. It’s available as a single or double, and if you live in an exceptionally obese part of the country, a triple. I went with a single. I forgot how much it cost; I didn’t pay for it because Wendy’s was cool enough to hook me up with a gift card. $4.39 seems to be the standard price, but it may vary depending on your location.
The burger came as premium Wendy’s sandwiches do, in white paper and a half box. Upon dissection, I found that all three purported elements were well-represented: bacon, portobello, and melt. Before digging in, I tried a piece of mushroom on its own, just for shits n’ gigs. It was very mushroomy, and not in a good way. By itself, umami is not pleasant. I almost gagged.
Once I was done snapping pics, I finally dove in. There were a lot of savory flavors going on, but bacon was the winner as far as strength. Wendy’s bacon is the best of the national burger chains: thick, crunchy, and smoky. The mushrooms were certainly present, but not overpowering. They provided the umami taste, a.k.a. earthy and kinda salty, as mushrooms do.
Cheese definitely played a role as well, which isn’t surprising considering the amount. Two slices of American, plus cheddar cheese sauce. The sauce was subtle, but the slight hint of cheddar added another dimension to the burger. Of course the beef itself was delicious as Wendy’s always is; yet another thing they do better than any other national chain. It’s juicy, a little salty, a little sweet, and maybe most importantly it tastes like real beef. Then there was the bun, which was soft, buttery, and a little sweet.
Put it all together and you get a pretty solid burger. If I have one complaint it’s that the Bacon Portabella Melt could have been improved greatly by adding at least one non-savory element. I’m thinking onions, maybe pickles, or even mustard. Any of those would have cut through the umami very nicely. As it is, the BPM is a solid 7/10. I’ll never eat it again because 1) Wendy’s has other, more cost-effective (Double Stack, Spicy Chicken Go Wrap) and delicious (Asiago Ranch Chicken Club) options; and 2) I was sidelined for a good 3 days with the stomach flu immediately after eating the BPM, and while it was most certainly a coincidence, I now have an aversion to it. Too bad it wasn’t broccoli or something. That would be a good excuse to never eat my veggies again, better than any I’ve got right now at least.
Anway, the Bacon Portabella Melt ain’t bad, so give it a shot.