Reality Check: New York Beef from McDonald's in Norway

Reality Check

Reviews of fast food burgers and a look at how the real life version compares to the advertised beauty shot.

[Photograph: above, McDonald's Norge on Facebook; others, Robyn Lee]

Norway is the right place to visit if you're looking for beautiful hiking trails, fjords, ski slopes, salty black licorice, and brown cheese. It's the wrong place to visit if you're looking for cheap eats, especially burgers.

But there's always good ol' reliable McDonald's. During my vacation to Bergen in June, I visited McDonald's to try their New York Beef, which was available for a limited time, along with a New York chicken wrap and chicken sandwich, from May to June.

As far as I can tell from the advertised image (I couldn't find a description on the McDonald's website), the New York Beef is made with a 100 percent Norwegian beef patty topped with cheese, bacon, shredded lettuce, mayo, slices of tomato, diced onion, and ketchup on a sesame seed bun. As for what makes that New York-themed, I don't know. It sounds like a pretty standard lot of toppings that isn't super basic nor overdone...nor one that screams, "NEW YORK!"

It doesn't look like much, but the first bite was surprisingly good. Instead of a "bone-dry, rubbery, chewy" patty, it tasted somewhat beefy, adequately moist, and far from rubbery. Whether that's because of the Norwegian beef or because this McDonald's location was just having a good day, I couldn't tell you. I don't know exactly how large the patty was, but it was pretty hefty, larger than a Quarter-Pounder.

The rest of the burger wasn't bad, either. The bacon imparted some smoky porcine flavor despite being paper-thin, the cheese was mostly melty, I loved the slathering of mayo, and the soft and squishy bun held everything together just fine. I don't know what happened to the advertised tomato, but the burger probably benefited from its absence. As someone who never orders a McDonald's burger if not for the sake of writing about it (I'm a chicken nugget and Filet-O-Fish kind of gal), I'd say this was the best burger I've ever had from a McDonald's.

And that made the $20-ish price tag feel less painful. Yup, the combo meal of the burger with a drink and fries came to 112 NOK, currently $18.91. It's quite a jump from the most expensive meal at my local McDonald's in NYC, $8.19 for a Double Quarter Pounder with cheese meal. 112 NOK won't break the bank, but it can be a shock if you're not used to prices in Norway.

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