Rumor has it that there is a burger that beats In-N-Out! No way, right? Well that was the latest gossip as word spread that a 5 Guys Burgers and Fries had opened up shop in the Las Vegas Valley. Originally from Arlington, Virginia, 5 Guys has been sprouting up across America at a frantic pace. There are currently over 750 locations nationwide as they supposedly continue to open 5 additional stores per week. And in this economy, that’s some serious optimism. So as you all know, it was only a matter of time before “yours truly” made her way into one of their stores - along with a secret stash of wine!
As I entered the store, I noticed red and white tiles along the walls that matched the red t-shirts and caps employees were wearing. Minus the yellow arrow and red palms trees, it felt very much like I was inside an In-N-Out location. One major difference was the free whole roasted peanuts that stood near the cash register. The menu too, was very different. At an In-N-Out, there aren't very many toppings to choose from. 5 Guys offers grilled mushrooms, jalapenos and even green peppers, as well as condiments like BBQ and steak sauce. Did I mention that all toppings are free? 5 Guys also come standard with 2 patties, instead of having to order a Double-Double at an In-N-Out.
With that said, a girls got to eat, right? So I decided to see if 5 Guys lived up to the hype. My choice, a bacon cheeseburger with grilled mushrooms and my wine for this taste test was the 2007 Luberri Biga Rioja Crianza from Spain, which received 91 points from Robert Parker. The wine is made from the grape varietal Tempranillo (native to Spain) and the term Crianza means that the wine has been aged for at least 2 years (one of which must be in oak), before being released. Rioja has mandatory aging requirements, which means by the time we the consumer purchase them, they have a little bit of age and are typically easier to drink since the tannin will have mellowed. The wine has notes of blackberry and spice with some wood and leather mixed in.
After a bite of the burger and then a sip of the wine, I notice how the spice in the wine played off the spiciness from the bacon. The earthy elements of the wine worked well with the mushrooms and both were big and round mirroring each other texturally. And although the meat was juicy and flavorful -cooked to perfection, the 5 Guys bun was soggy and soft in comparison to In-N-Out’s toasted bun. The 5 Guys soggy bun made it difficult for me to handle with the fear of its juicy contents spilling out all over my silk blouse.
So In-N-Out still wins in my book, but I wouldn't turn down 5 Guys if you ever find yourself in the neighborhood. As for price, In-N-Out still beats 5 Guys. And before I forget, both of their French fries really suck, so for me they both get a score of zero. But since you’ll be sneaking in a bottle of the Rioja, why not go “all out” defiant and swing by a McDonald’s drive-thru to pick up their fries? Just saying! Cheers! ;)~
Wine featured in this post: 2007 Luberri Biga Rioja Crianza (Available @ Khoury's Fine Wine & Spirits $18.99)