Remember Wendy's delicious foie gras hamburger? How about the company's truffle and porcini grilled chicken sandwich? These Wendy's menu items may not ring a bell, unless you've been at one of the franchise's Japanese chains in the past year.
Since the franchise's month-long hiatus in Japan, Wendy's has done its best to create new food items that reflect Japan's outrageous and off-beat culture. On Aug. 3, Wendy's added two new ridiculous sandwich items to its menu to take advantage of the record low prices on the lobster market, including the Premium Caviar & Lobster Burger, and the Lobster Surf & Turf Burger.
The Premium Caviar & Lobster Burger comes with claw meat piled atop a lobster salad, which is finished with a "mustardy mayonnaise" and sprinkled with caviar. Wendy's Surf & Turf Burger is a little less wacky, and it's exactly what it sounds like: Whole pieces of lobster piled on top of Wendy's famously-square burger patties. Both burgers are made with Omar lobster meat from Canada, and both burgers cost ¥1,280 (about US$16.28). Customers can also order the deluxe platters of these meals for ¥1,580 (US$20.11), which come with an extra "Garden Sensation Salad" with lobster meat and caviar.
These two burgers are available in Japan for a limited time, but should Wendy's even be selling these two offbeat burgers to begin with?
Lobster & Caviar Burgers: Brilliant Idea, Or A Fish Out Of Water?
When people think burgers, they think beef. Lobster is not the first thing that comes to mind. But does that mean a Lobster Burger, or a Lobster & Hamburger combo, couldn't work?
The flavor profile of lobster may not be familiar to many people outside Maine, but the crustacean has a silky smooth texture and a rich, buttery taste. Lobsters are typically boiled and eaten whole, or, like crab, is placed between hot dog or burger buns. When thinking of lobster in this scenario, a lobster burger doesn't seem far off.
Everything in the Lobster & Caviar Burger actually works: Lobster typically goes well with leafy veggies and acidic tomatoes, and mustard and mayonnaise are found in almost every lobster-centric meal. The caviar may be a bit off-putting to some, but once you get past the concept of eating caviar, the flavor itself is actually quite sweet. As a whole, the Lobster & Caviar Burger is something that could definitely work, especially with the Japanese culture so accustomed to eating raw seafood.
The Surf & Turf Combo, on the other hand, could perform differently. Everything in the Surf & Turf Burger is great, with the exception of the combination of a Wendy's burger patty and a lobster claw. The lobster claws are typically very sweet and rich; in contrast, Wendy's burger patties tend to be dull and dry. They need a lot of sweetness and sauce, which is usually provided by ketchup, but you won't want ketchup on this burger. Similarly, you won't want too much of the mustard-mayo combo, either. This burger could actually be a little more confusing -- and less satisfying -- than the Lobster & Caviar Burger.
The reason why the Surf & Turf Combo may not work is the same reason Burger King's Bacon Sundae didn't work: While both food elements are good by themselves, they don't necessarily taste good in the same bite. When I personally reviewed the Bacon Sundae, both elements tasted delicious by themselves, but the experience of tasting them together was rather unappealing.
Wendy's Lobster Burgers: Would You Try Them?
Would you try a Lobster & Caviar Burger, or a Surf & Turf Burger, if it were made by Wendy's? Why or why not? If you're in Japan and you have a chance to try the burger, let us know how you like it! Shoot us an email or leave us a comment in the section below.