Garden Vegetable Burger @ Smokejumpers Grill

Price: $10.49

When: December 2, 2015, 12:25 PM

Reservations: n/a

Verdict? Not recommended

After my last, unreservedly terrible experience at Smokejumpers Grill, I thought it would be nice to give the place a rematch. Who knows, I thought, maybe the Chicken Burger is their Achilles’ heel. Maybe they have some real gems on that menu board.

Optimism! Energy! Let’s do this!

For today’s effort, I went with the Garden Vegetable Burger. This is Smokejumpers’ official vegetarian option, and I was eager to see how it tasted. I’ve had some pretty good veggie burgers in my time, and hoped that Disney might be on-trend with a yummy, meat-free option.

Not the case.

This is, objectively, a terrible burger. It’s the spiritual twin of the Grilled Chicken & Jack Sandwich: a dry, mostly-flavorless patty, sitting on a sad, store-bought bun, and accompanied by a slice of cheese that’s undetectable to the taste buds.

What I’m realizing about Smokejumpers is that it’s 100% about the condiment bar. The burgers they serve are intended to be CDVs – Condiment Delivery Vehicles – and nothing more. It makes a kind of sense, as the Smokejumpers condiment bar is well-stocked with sauces and toppings. There’s BBQ, ranch, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and Thousand Island, as well as scads of tomatoes, lettuce, pickles and peppers. People queue for the bar, and proceed to drown their CDV with the sauce and topping combo they want.

OK, so, when in Rome, right? I regrouped, showered tomatos and pickles and Thousand Island on this puppy, and returned to my table.

Guess what? You can’t taste the burger anymore. It was effectively transformed into a condiment sandwich. It sort of makes me wonder: why have the patty at all? Just serve people a bun and be done with it.

I don’t recommend this dish. The burger can’t stand on its own, and I find the condiment-your-way-to-success approach to be a tad cynical. If you like burgers, big-flavor burgers, this will make you sad and/or angry. It’s got nuthin’.

(Oh, and it comes with fries, “zesty coleslaw” or onion rings. I went with fries. They were, as usual, unmemorable.)