Thanks to Patrick Mahomes, King of Kansas City (with all due apologies to Roger Miller [and props to the eight readers who will get my archaic reference]), my city and its surrounding suburbs are now home to several Whataburger restaurants.
Now, because there isn’t a particularly close one (yet), and the lines are still at the “OMG OMG OMG, WE’VE GOT A NEW _____” stage, I still haven’t had it. But from what I can tell, it’s like a lot of these things in that people either swear by it, or they don’t think it’s anything too special. What both camps seem to do, however, is compare it to Sonic. (Maybe it’s an Oklahoma/Texas bitter rivalry thing?)
Anyhow, I’ve had Sonic all my life, and in the chain burger hierarchy, I think they’re in my top 3. (Or maybe top 5. I’d probably have to give it some deeper thought.) And while Sonic tends to knock it out of the park on their standards — the chili cheese coney, the bacon cheeseburger, the tots, and the onion rings — its LTOs are much more hit or miss.
It’s my sad duty to report that the new Chophouse Cheeseburger is in the latter camp.
It features Sonic’s beef patty topped with “Chophouse aioli,” fried onion strings, and two slices of American cheese, all situated on a toasted brioche bun. Now, some collateral I came across in my research suggests that the patty is seasoned with “Montreal steak seasoning,” but other things — including the app — don’t mention this. Did I notice a different seasoning on the patty I consumed? I mean… eh? I thought I noticed something, maybe, but it’s hard to tell if I was willing myself into tasting a deviation from a standard Sonic patty or if there was actually something there. In either case, it wasn’t enough to make much of a noticeable difference.
The same is true of the “Chophouse aioli,” a lackluster, oily substance that added absolutely nothing. It barely registered, giving me no sense of what I was supposed to be experiencing. What is chophouse aioli, anyway? Fancy steak mayo? To be fair, and as evidenced by the picture, the burger technician had a very light sauce hand.
What this burger had plenty of, however — too much, in fact — is cheese. Honestly, one slice would have sufficed, as the standard melty Americanness overwhelmed everything except the meat. The fried onion straws added a nice textural element and a welcome sweet component to contrast the saltiness of the proceedings. The brioche bun — which Sonic has used on multiple other burgers — was pedestrian but held up well, as it typically does.
While I appreciate Sonic’s regular efforts at giving customers something new, the Chophouse Cheeseburger doesn’t feel like it’ll create any long-lasting memories, nor will it convince any Whataburger die-hards to switch allegiances.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, maybe I’m finally ready to go sit in a drive-thru for 45 minutes to see if “spicy ketchup” is worth it.
Purchased Price: $5.49
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 980 calories, 69 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 110 milligrams of cholesterol, 1610 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.