Review: Fish McBites from McDonald’s
Let’s be honest here, the majority of us choose a burger or chicken over fish. Fish is clearly the #3 animal protein for most of the year, but when the season of Lent approaches, the seafood onslaught begins. Seafood offerings have dominated GrubGrade news this week as every company looks to capitalize on those abstaining from what they really want… anything but fish. The only time I really consider fish at a fast food place is when I’m bombarded by the ads that always run around this time of year. Fish McBites go nationwide on Fat Tuesday, February 12th, but my local McDonald’s started early.
McDonald’s describes their Fish McBites like this:
Bite through crispy tender pieces of poppable white, flaky Alaskan Pollock. First taste the crisp seasoned coating, then plunge deep into a creamy, tangy tartar sauce. Repeat until satisfied.
Fish McBites first went into testing early last year and it was only a matter of time that the rest of us would be indulging too. We went through the rounds of Chicken McBites and the spicy version while no one really was thinking, “oh dude, Fish McBites are gonna be coming out next!” A bite-sized, poppable food is perfect fast food grub and it’s not too much of a far out idea to batter and bread some little morsels of anything and sell it to the hungry.
So enter the season of Lent… this is just something that had to be done. Usually around this time of year we’re getting special prices on the normally grossly overpriced McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish and those specials will still be appearing in your region no doubt. The classic fish sandwich will take the backseat this year as these little fish nuggets called McBites take the drivers seat. Speaking of driving… Fish McBites take advantage of a handy box for grubbing on the go complete with a place for the ubiquitous tartar dipping sauce. Like the Chicken McBites that came before it, Fish McBites will fit in your vehicles cup holder while bread crumbs litter everything else.Taste-wise, you’ll be entering familiar territory with Fish McBites. It’s consistent with the taste of the Filet-O-Fish patty even though the breading is completely different. The breading doesn’t offer much of any updated flavor. It’s a light and dusty breading that doesn’t overpower as a crust and lets the chunk of fish it’s enveloping still shine through. We’re dealing with fish here and it’s more delicate than a chicken breast morsel so getting down deep into the tartar sauce towards the end was a little tricky holding things together, but I’m a pro. As always, tartar sauce is the safe and expected dipping sauce choice providing the creamy balance to the crusty fish texture.As expected, my fingers got more greasy and crumb-y than they normally would with the standard Chicken McNuggets or cousin Chicken McBites. Not a complaint, just an observation… fish clearly doesn’t work as well as chicken for a breaded nugget. Uncle Ted and Bobby once told me that fish don’t stink… under the water the fish don’t stink. Fish McBites stink, it’s fish. My son Ozzy caught an instant whiff and was all up in my GrubGrade reviewing procedures (see below). You’ve got three size choices with Fish Mcbites: a $2.29 snack size, a $3.29 regular size, and a $5.29 shareable size. I went with the regular for $3.29 and felt a bit gypped. My previous adventures with Chicken McBites had my box overflowing while Fish McBites left me with a feeling that I just opened a 60% full bag of potato chips. On a positive, unlike like the Chicken McBites, there were no random pieces of meatless crust floating about. Down to my last Fish McBite, each was full and consistent and perfectly intact. I came away from Fish McBites neither impressed nor underwhelmed. They were just about what I expected: gimmicky. I’m not the biggest Filet-O-Fish lover, but I still missed the soft, steamed bun and sliver of American cheese for the first time ever.
Pros: Full McBites, no random pieces of crust strewn about. Packaging is good, not great (improve the sauce holder). Tartar sauce.
Cons: Fish is pricier than chicken and doesn't taste as good or have the versatility with sauce choices in my opinion. Spicy Fish McBites should have been an option right off the bat.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $3.29 regular size
Overall GrubGrade: 5.75/10
More Info: http://www.McDonalds.com
Snack - 250 calories
Regular - 370 calories
Shareable - 740 calories