Review of McDonald’s New York Stack – Great Tastes of America
What they say:
Two 100% British and Irish beef burgers with bacon, cheese, chunky coleslaw, tomato ketchup, mustard, lettuce and pickles in a sesame & poppy seed topped bagel.
Price: £3.89 for the burger only, £5.49 for a meal (subject to variation).
Calories: 754 kcal.
The burgers were coming thick and fast at the exclusive preview event of the Great Tastes of America promotion at McDonald’s Head Office on Tuesday 26th April. And up next we have weeks’ three and four burger – The New York Stack.
Long-term readers of BURGER LAD® will know that I’m not a massive fan of ketchup, or mustard for that matter. So when I saw the description for this build I wasn’t actually that enamoured by it. In my original speculative GTA post I’d also mentioned the Memphis Special – a burger featuring coleslaw which I flatly did not enjoy, so you can also imagine my trepidation when I saw that ingredient listed too.
In that original post, I also anticipated the return of a GTA promotional mainstay, the New York Classic… and looking at the toppings, the Stack and the Classic do share some common characteristics (bacon, cheese, mustard and ketchup). But that is about where the similarities end – because on this double patty burger (aptly named a stack in-line with the rest of the promotion) the real main talking point is the sesame and poppy seed topped bagel bun.
Before we get into discussing the bagel bun it is great news for us, the consumer, that we are getting double patty burgers. I talked about it in our previous Tennessee Stack review, but basically McDonald’s conducted in-depth customer research and found a recurring theme – we want double burgers. Interesting and topical due to CEO Paul Pomroy recently telling BBC Breakfast (on sugar tax) “Our customers tell us they don’t want a nanny state.” Paul. As a McDonald’s customer and super-fan you are correct. We don’t… and we want doubles! Besides, you look at the New York Stack and might think it has excessive calories because it is a double, but clocking in at 754 kcal this is under the 869 kcal of the Big Tasty with Bacon.
Enough. Let’s talk burger. The New York Stack is an interesting release from McDonald’s and that bagel bun is brilliant. And I mean brilliant. It looks fantastic, it tastes fantastic and is not a gimmick for gimmicks sake.
The top down view is when it is most impressive with that vivid yellow American cheese shining through the circle in the bagel. Whereas the Tennessee Stack had one slice of cheese placed between the patties, this has a slice strategically placed on-top of everything else to give this effect and it does provide an element of wow factor.
The sesame and poppy seeds on the bagel give the bun a new dimension to McD’s in terms of flavour and is highly recommended. It does make you feel like you are eating something New York-inspired and is a clever association with the city (as I was writing this an advert for the New York Bakery Co. popped up on TV and I reminisced of this burger).
If the bacon was swapped with something like Pastrami then I could well be talking about “the best burger at McDonald’s ever”. And it really would feel like the ultimate McD’s NY creation. But… I appreciate the business-side of things (cross-use of bacon on other items) jettisons such dreams off the Empire State Building.
Despite not being a fan of the sauces used on the New York Stack they work incredibly well together and are a classic combination (a nod to the Hot Dog vendors in The Big Apple). And I really did enjoy it, to the point that when asked which was my favourite, I did find it very difficult to choose between this and the upcoming Tex Mex Stack. I’m still undecided. Would I go out and buy the Tennessee Stack in weeks one or two? Probably not. Would I buy this one in weeks three or four of the promo? I can categorically state now that yes I will – a testament to a burger featuring three ingredients I “don’t really like”.
That brings us to the third topping I had reservations about – the chunky slaw/coleslaw. I actually didn’t finish the Memphis Special which also had the offending ingredient on-board. Whatever they have done to the recipe it certainly was much more enjoyable than last time… or it works better on this build. I won’t proclaim to be a convert, but hats off it did taste better and you can see how it complements the other components.
The pickles really made this burger too. I appreciate not every person is a fan but I think the combo of the ketchup, mustard and pickles really is such a classic that it has to be enjoyed this way. Again, if that bacon was pastrami instead this would be immortalised in the McDonald’s Hall of Fame.
People often complain that McDonald’s just release the same ingredients, albeit slightly different each time, however, GTA 2016 shows a real sign of intent from The Golden Arches. OK each burger is in essence, a bacon double cheeseburger but that is always going to be the core element. I see it as a brave (and good) move to introduce doubles or stacks to the menu. Personally I’d rather see three new innovative inventions with bold flavours (like this one) instead of re-hashing five “lazy” ones over the course of five/six weeks. I believe this switch to three builds will benefit both staff and customers in the long run.
Overall, The New York Stack is an incredibly good burger. Offering a classic combination of NY-inspired flavours (ketchup, mustard, pickles) and with that impressive and visually striking bagel bun, makes this a sure-fire winner and memorable promotional item from McDonald’s.
You might think that being invited to Head Office makes for a good review. It doesn’t. And testament to this burger that not only did I enjoy it, I would say it is possibly the best of all three beef offerings. And that’s coming from someone who is not a fan of ketchup, mustard or coleslaw. Individually I don’t like eating them, but collectively they work very, very well together alongside the beef, bacon and cheese. And whatever you do… keep those pickles on it!
The New York Stack is available from 11.05.16 to 24.05.16 at all participating restaurants.