Saturday, May 4, 2013

REVIEW: Red Robin's 5 Alarm Burger

Today, May 4th, celebrates two great events: My Uncle Mike's birthday, and National Star Wars Day. Happy Birthday Uncle Mike, and may the 4th be with you! (Bet you haven't heard THAT ONE before...Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk!)

Anyway, I've got a review for all of you readers yet again! This time, my family headed over to Red Robin for dinner. I usually get the chain's Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, since I'm all about teriyaki, but I felt that for a review, I ought to go with something I haven't had time and time again.
Red Robin recently asked their consumers which of their discontinued burgers everyone wanted to see return to their menu again the most in their "Bring My Burger Back" poll. The people spoke, and the clear winner was the 5 Alarm Burger, which received more than 56,000 votes altogether. Sounds pretty popular, no? But what makes this burger so darn delicious? Did it really deserve to come out on top of the poll results? This sounds like a case only a review can solve!
I forget how much my burger costed me- Mama was picking up the tab of course, and I was being plain, ol' negligent and didn't look at the receipt before we left. From past visits, I'd say my burger was around $10.00, including the modifications I made.

Red Robin describes their 5 Alarm Burger as "a fire-grilled patty topped with Pepper-Jack cheese, fiery jalapenos, tangy salsa, sliced tomatoes and chipolte aioli." Red Robin's promotional picture also shows shredded iceberg lettuce inside the 5 Alarm Burger, which was not mentioned in their promotional ad.
 Hmm... a spicy burger! Right up my alley! I love a cheeseburger with a good kick. But will the fiery taste overpower the overall flavor? Nothing is worse than food that is all spice, no taste.
Red Robin doesn't have an official diet menu, nor do they promote any of their main items as "healthy," but they do have "The Customizer," an application that allows you to customize your menu item so you can see its nutritional information before you order. You can check The Customizer out over here on Red Robin's online menu, or you can download it as an app for your iPhone. How convenient! Since the 5 Alarm Burger was just brought back a month ago in April, its not on The Customizer yet, but I modified a Keep it Simple burger to contain all the toppings the 5 Alarm has, and found the burger to be around 837 calories. Yowza! To keep the calorie count down, I asked our waitress to swap the sesame bun for a lettuce-wrap, replace the standard beef patty with a BOCA burger, and use only one slice of Pepper-Jack for my sandwich. I also asked to sub my side of fries for steamed broccoli instead. I guess that's not really in the spirit of the review, but you gotta do what you gotta do! (Red Robin offers the lettuce bun, as well as the BOCA burgers on their menu, so don't hesitate to ask for these if you feel like eating light. Steamed broccoli is also a no-charge substitution for their steak fries).
The burgers arrived at our table shockingly fast. It wasn't super-fast, like five-minutes or anything, but they came a lot quicker than I thought. All the while, our waitress kept up on refilling my family's drinks whenever we were low. At least the service was good! But how was the food? Since the burgers were now here, it was time to find out!
Well, at first glance, the burgers are HUGE. Mama had ordered a BOCA burger too, so I thought our two sandwiches would be small. I mean, BOCA burgers typically are tiny. But, dang, they were BIG. I didn't know they made BOCA burgers that big. They were the same exact size as my brother's Bacon Cheeseburger, and he had gotten a regular patty. Talk about cool! I always like big portion sizes for small amounts of calories.
I decided to eat my broccoli first, so I could completely focus on my burger when I was all done. The broccoli was a fresh, green color. There were about fix to six decent sized florets in the cup. The broccoli was hot, but not overcooked or mushy. It had a good crunch and tasted fresh! To give it an extra boost, I sprinkled it with Red Robin's special Seasoning. The restaurant places a big container of it on every table- It goes great on pretty much anything. (Well, maybe not ice cream, but you get the picture).
After I finished my broccoli, I put some seasoning on my burger and took a bite out of it, trying to hold it by its lettuce-bun. The lettuce bun was about four big,crisp, sturdy iceberg lettuce leaves covering the 5 Alarm on the top and bottom.
The burger was cooked surprisingly well, and was still warm by the time I started to eat it. I was afraid Red Robin might not know how to cook a BOCA as well as a beef patty, but the veggie burger was perfect. It was slightly crispy on the outside, with a soft center. I was worried the BOCA would turn out as hard as a rock or SOMETHING, but I guess the chefs at Red Robin are smarter than I give them credit for. I could tell my burger wasn't real meat, but that's okay- I knew it was a BOCA since I always eat BOCA. You know what I mean? I know the flavor well. But don't take that like I was disappointed. It's a good flavor!
The best part of the 5 Alarm was easily the chipolte aioli. It was soooo good! I was surprised at just how good it was. Essentially, Red Robin's "aioli" is mayonnaise with some spicy flavoring added in. The chipolte mayo was light orange in color and was spread generously across both sides of the burger. It was very rich and creamy, and enhanced the flavor of every bite. The mayo was spicy, but not so much that it became irritating. It was indulgent and crazy-tasty! I was even tempted to lick the smears of mayo that had gotten onto the burger's wrapper. Mmmm...
One downside of my burger was the size of the lettuce bun. The bottom leaves didn't cover up my burger all the way, and by the time I had taken a few bites, they were nearly gone. I had to continue eating with a knife and fork so my hands wouldn't get all messy, which really stunk since the burger was served on paper in a basket. Paper + burger juice + knife= little paper bits everywhere.... Blah!!!
Soon enough, I was wondering where the jalapenos were. I hadn't tasted any yet. Peeling back the top of my lettuce bun, I found that there were only about five or six jalapeno slices on my burger, and I hadn't eaten any of them yet. I first thought five or six was too small of an amount, but changed my mind quickly after I had gotten a couple of bites of jalapeno. They were hot, hot, hot!!! Fresh, but hot!!! Luckily, there was lettuce tomatoes (which were flavorful and sharp, by the way) to cool my flaming taste buds down. Looking back, any more jalapenos would've just been too hot to handle. I think Red Robin just needs to do a better job of spacing them out.
Halfway through the 5 Alarm, I started tasting something new. Then I remembered- There was supposed to be salsa on the thing! It was a bit annoying that there was a complete lack of salsa during the first half of my burger, but I'll forgive Red Robin, since it was good. The salsa had a chunky, mild, and slightly acidic flavor that tasted just like pico di gallo. This also helped to offset the spicy jalapenos. But like the jalapeno peppers, the salsa needed to be spread around more evenly.
A major disappointment of my burger was the cheese. The thing was, it wasn't flavorful. I knew it was there since I could see it on top of the BOCA, but it didn't have any taste. If I hadn't seen the slice of cheese, I probably would've wondered if Red Robin remembered to put it on my burger. Maybe this is because I only asked for one slice of cheese, or maybe because Pepper-Jack has never provided me with a big taste- I don't know. I'm sure the cheese could've easily packed more flavor though, even if there was only one slice. If I was to order the 5 Alarm a second time, I would ask for a cheese with a more distinct flavor. To me, Pepper-Jack just has trouble standing out when it's eaten with a bunch of other things.

So, does the 5 Alarm live up to expectations? Is it first place material? I think it is! Red Robin's spicy burger packs plenty of flavor with a good amount of spice. It contains a variety of interesting toppings and is dressed with a creamy, addicting, chipolte-infused mayo. The only problems were that the jalapenos and salsa weren't distributed equally onto the burger, and the lettuce bun was just too small. But the latter complaint is my own fault, really- The lettuce bun was a substitution I had asked for. I'm sure Red Robin's sesame buns hold up much better when compared to a couple of iceberg leaves. The cheese was disappointing as well, but I've never been a big Pepper-Jack fan to begin with, so maybe I'm a little biased.
Anyway, Red Robin's 5 Alarm Burger tastes great, and I recommend ordering one next time- if you think you can handle the heat. The 5 Alarm will only be back on Red Robin's menu until June 3rd, so get it while the getting's good!

Nutrition: 2/10 (Without all the low-calorie modifications, like the lettuce wrap and the BOCA patty, this burger'll set you back a whole 800 calories! Yipes! Be careful when ordering...)
Taste: 8/10
Price: 5.5/10
Originality: 6/10 (I mean, come on, we've seen spicy burgers before. However, that chipolte mayo is good...)
Overall Deliciousness Rating: 7.5/10

Red Robin's 5 Alarm Burger with Steamed Broccoli
  • Pros: Chipolte mayo is creamy and delicious with good amount of heat, spice is not too overbearing, burger was warm and cooked well, burger was big, jalepenos were fresh, tomato slices were flavorful, lettuce bun was sturdy and crisp, salsa had a good taste of pico di gallo, broccoli was hot, fresh, and crisp.
  • Cons: Jalapenos and salsa didn't come in until later, Pepper-Jack lacks flavor, bottom half of lettuce bun was too small, jalapenos were very, very hot.
Have any of you ever been to Red Robin? What is your favorite burger/menu item? What is your favorite side item? Have you ever tried a lettuce bun/BOCA burger? How many Bottomless Lemonades or basket of steak fries have you eaten in one sitting? Remember to respond with your comments down below and tell me what you think! Till' next time!

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