Review: Harvest Chicken Salad on Whole Grain Flatbread from Quiznos
It’s no secret that Quiznos has been trailing Subway in recent years. The company’s mishandling of franchises is the stuff they teach you not to do in your freshmen economics classes, while the chain’s inability to match marketing wits with the 5 Dollar Footlong campaign, has led Subway to leave the once ultra-chic Quiznos in the dust.
Quiznos is fighting back though, and with complaints growing about some of Subway’s recent offering (ahem, pulled pork) Quiznos is borrowing a page from the book that Subway made famous a decade ago – healthy subs.
Among the steps Quiznos is taking to promote its sandwiches as healthy and flavorful are the launching of a new line of whole-grain flatbreads, as well as an innovative take on the highly seasonal chicken salad sandwich. The Harvest Chicken Salad Sandwich certainly wins in the marketing department:
Honey-Dijon chicken, grapes, apples, dried cranberries, cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, spring mix lettuce, Acai Vinaigrette
The flavors sound exciting, but the $5.99 price tag puts this in the upper price range of chain sandwiches, not to mention makes it a dollar more than Subway’s $5 Footlongs. And my friends, you ain’t getting a footlong anything with this. In fact, when it comes to value, this is one sandwich that really misses the mark.
It’s a shame, really, because taste-wise, it’s probably one of the more intriguing takes on chicken salad I’ve had. Lets start with the good. Unlike Subway’s Orchard Chicken Salad (read our review here), the base isn’t your typical gloopy fast-food mayo. The acai vinaigrette has a light but fruity taste that could perk up even the dullest of salads, although the runny nature of the dressing is a bit awkward, especially given the dynamics of the flatbread construction. The veggies are all very fresh. You’re not getting some limp, Burger King lettuce or some runny spinach here, but rather a nice helping of buttery greens. The tomatoes are a really interesting addition – adding both crunch and sweetness – but the winning ingredient here are the pepitas. I didn’t think I liked pumpkin seeds before eating this flatbread, but having had experienced the complex flavors in unison with the bright vegetables and sweet and peppery vinaigrette, I think I’ll be putting my future Jack-O-Lanterns to better use.
As for the flatbread itself, it’s one of the better ones out there, and gives whole grains a good name. There’s a welcomed honey sweetness that works great with the nuts and seeds baked into the dough, which itself is slightly pillowy and chewy.
All that being said, there were more misses than hits with the Harvest Chicken Salad – especially if you order it on the whole grain flatbread like I did. For starters, you are getting a lot more bread than salad here, and the portion of chicken is very skimpy. That chicken, by the way, is nothing special. For this much money, I expect at least a decent grilled, if not roasted white meat breast with perhaps some dark meat for flavor, but the chunks of pregrilled chicken in the sub are par for the course when it comes to fast food (aka, dry and salty). The “honey-dijon” flavor? Tasted more like fake char-grill and sodium enhancers to me. Also, what is up with the fruit configuration? I could hardly make out any apple chunks and counted all of one grape (split into two halves). While the sweetness of the dressing was enough to get me through, a little more crunch from the fruit would have been nice.
At $5.99 this sandwich isn’t a good value – especially when you factor in the fact that my local Quiznos didn’t honor a Buy One, Get One Free coupon for the item. It has good flavor and promise with the ingredients, but its shortcoming are all too apparent. While I love the pumpkin seeds and the idea of an acai dressing, the innovative and dare I say exotic flavors are doomed because of mediocre chicken and skimpy portions. The flatbread is far from filling, and almost falls into the category of snack more than it does a meal. Sorry Quiznos, Subway might have mediocre sandwiches and dumb names for the people making them, but at least they honor coupons and, once more, can provide me with some substance to last through the workday.
Pros: Hearty yet pillowy flatbread has mildly sweet but nutty flavor. Acai dressing is bright and flavorful. Veggies are fresh and crisp. Pumpkin seeds add dynamic and complex flavor.
Cons: Chicken is average, at best, while skimpy portion makes the $5.99 price tag a tough bill to swallow for more of a "snack" than a meal.
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.50/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.25/10
More Info: Quiznos.com
Quiznos Harvest Chicken Salad on Flatbread
Calories – 530
Total Fat – 19 grams
Saturated Fat – 4 grams
Trans Fat: 0 grams
Carbs – 73 grams
Cholesterol – 30 milligrams
Sodium – 1160 milligrams
Sugars – 38 grams
Dietary Fiber – 11 grams
Protein – 22 grams