The reputation of In-n-Out Burger is almost legendary. Loved almost universally by anyone who tries it, the simple and famously limited menu attracts praise from visitors from around the globe. Chefs Anthony Bourdain, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Julia Child have listed it among their favorites. So, when I found I would be traveling to Dallas, Tx, on business, I knew I had to stop there and try it for myself.
Was it deserving of the praise? Not really. Sure, it was good, far better than what is served at most restaurants with a drive through window. The food was fairly flavorful, well cooked, and tasted fresh for fast food. I appreciated the "Animal Style" option, with mustard cooked into the patty and the addition of thousand island dressing as a sauce. The fries were crisp and hot. But it was still a fast food burger. The meat was still thin, too well done, and there were not enough options to make it interesting.
Five Guy's, a rival burger chain, has a variety of fresh cut vegetables to stack on their burger, In-N-Out only has lettuce and tomato, neither very impressive. Smash-burger has a variety of sauces, cheeses and seasonings they can add to their burgers. Blanc Burger, a kansas city local, has thick burgers made from choice ribeye cooked to order and dripping with juice. Town Topic, another KC favorite, has diner-style burgers cooked on a bed of grilled onions that are simple, but delicious.
Compared to all that, In-N-Out burger just did not feel that special. I enjoyed it, and if it were convenient, I would go back, but I just don't understand the adoration bestowed upon its food. It's just a good fast food burger and decent fries, get over it.