Review: Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s
In the fast food world, there are countless products that receive very polarizing opinions. The Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s is not one of those products as it’s a pretty solid fan favorite. With the introduction of the new Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy’s has upped the heat level.Not to knock their classic Spicy Chicken Sandwich, but the lettuce/tomato/mayo combination is as basic as you can get. The beauty with the simplicity of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich is that it works by just relying on the strength of its spicy chicken fillet. The Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich features the same spicy chicken fillet and adds ghost pepper sauce, cheese, red onion and fresh jalapeños to create a unique new style of spicy chicken sandwich.
I gripe at times when a product tries too hard to be different or exciting so I was curious to see how adding spicy condiments to an already spicy sandwich would turn out. Yes, ghost peppers are gaining momentum into full blown trendy. With the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, Wendy’s isn’t really relying on the catchy “Ghost Pepper” name to draw anyone in. They are marketing Ghost Pepper Fries, but with this sandwich I think the Jalapeño Fresco name was the more accurate choice. The creamy ghost pepper sauce doesn’t have as much true impact as the freshly chopped jalapeños so it’s fitting the focus isn’t on ghost pepper. From the bright orange ghost pepper sauce I got a lot more smoke than fire. The healthy dose of sauce made for an added creamy moisture to the texture element. As a whole, there’s plenty of texture variety throughout sandwich.A slice of yellow/pale cheese is included in this sandwich and it’s thick enough to not melt very well and has a mild sharpness with a light finish. I’m guessing it’s a Monterey Jack cheese, but I don’t have an official ingredients list at the moment (test market item details are hard to get a hold of). The fresh, diced jalapeños are what makes this sandwich, “Fresco”. They are cut pretty small and there’s a good amount of them which provided a nice, colorful contrasting element of fresh veggie crunch and slower burn… a burn that is different from the spicy chicken fillet. The jalapeños are plentiful and a few pieces fell out of the sandwich into the sandwich box, but for the most part they’re contained by sticking onto the ghost pepper sauce. The burn from the breading of the meaty chicken fillet has immediate impact. There’s a variety of black/red/chili pepper dry seasonings on the chicken breading, where the diced jalapeños have a garden freshness which is followed by an aromatic, peppery bite that woke my sinuses in some spots. Three raw red onion rings are also included in the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich and provide a fleeting flavor twist, yet don’t stand out too well when going up against the spicy ingredients.The bun was different than the buns I’ve become familiar with at Wendy’s. My impression based on color, texture, and taste was this what a more fibrous wheat bun which I found to be a strange choice. No major complaints with the bun, just curious as to why the standard premium toasted white bun wasn’t used.In closing, $5.49 is a lot to ask for with a fast food sandwich, but the Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich delivers strong ingredients and plenty of heat. There’s plenty of texture variety to be found here… from the coarse crunch of the spicy chicken fillet breading to the freshly cut jalapeños, to the creamy ghost pepper sauce. If you’re looking for a more unique taste from your standard Spicy Chicken Sandwich, look in the direction of the Jalapeño Fresco version and hope it receives a wide release very soon.
Pros: Big sandwich with plenty of flavor and nice contrasting textures and heat. Freshness of the chopped jalapeños was a satisfying break from the usual pickled jalapeños.
Cons: Premium priced fast food... $5.49 for the sandwich alone. Ghost pepper sauce tasted a little too muted beyond its smokiness.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 8.50/10
More Info: wendys.com