Review: Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta from Wendy’s
Wendy’s introduced the ciabatta bun to its menu back in January with the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger. I felt it was an odd choice to feature a ciabatta bun on something other than a chicken sandwich. The bun was overly bready and dry and that’s typical of a lot of my experiences with ciabatta. Minor gripes aside, having this bread featured for a burger seemed very backwards to me. I was left a little unimpressed by the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger yet still felt it was about average for a premium fast food burger. Making the switch from burger to chicken had to be in the cards for future products featuring ciabatta. Today Wendy’s made this inevitable sandwich release a reality with the new Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta.
Wendy’s describes the Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta like this:
Add a little gusto to your day with Wendy’s new Tuscan Chicken Sandwich on Ciabatta. Go for the gusto with our lightly breaded chicken, rich garlic with roasted tomato aioli and sliced asiago cheese, on a toasted ciabatta bun
When seeing the promo pic and description of the Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta I felt like Wendy’s had a winner on their hands. The ingredients list looked like a natural fit with one another. It’s upsetting when one ingredient ruins the sandwich experience and the Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta appeared to avoid heading down that road for me. On paper I’m thinking this is a well thought out product.
The chicken filet isn’t quite “lightly” breaded as the description says, but it’s a hearty and tender piece of chicken. I’ve always enjoyed the quality of the homestyle chicken breast and find it to be consistently balanced with being moist on the inside and having a nice crisp exterior. You’ve got 22 grams of protein packed in the chicken filet alone so it makes for a filling sandwich. There’s a combination of nine greens in the spring mix that tops the chicken and the garlic and roasted tomato aioli sauce makes it a really nice “slaw”-like effect. Diced up tomatoes mixed in with the sauce give it some added depth and texture. The sauce coated greens had a slightly tangy and savory flavor which worked well with the homestyle chicken breast filet.
The promotional picture on the Wendy’s website shows two slices of tomato, but my sandwich didn’t include said tomatoes. Also the description doesn’t mention the sliced tomatoes, yet the nutrition info includes them. Given the lack of consistency from just a consumers perspective, I was not surprised that the person who constructed my sandwich left the tomato slices off. The sharpness of the slice of Asiago cheese was nice because it was actually noticeable. Way too often I find myself wondering if cheese was even included in my sandwich because it lacks flavor. Asiago was a good choice… it was the appropriate choice. Ciabatta worked with the Tuscan Chicken sandwich and its thickness wasn’t an issue considering the chicken filet was big enough to balance it. The Ciabatta Bacon Burger would have likely received more positive results if there was more burger to even things out with the bread. The sauced-up greens and healthy slab of breaded chicken plus Asiago thrown in were more than enough to make the toasty ciabatta more of a complementary ingredient rather than a standout problem.
The suggested price for the Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta is $4.69 and I paid $5.39 for mine today in Maryland. Since this sandwich is over the $5 mark, I can’t help but give it a poor score on the value scale. Yes the sandwich is filling, but to me it just isn’t what I expect to pay for lowly tier of fast food. There wasn’t even that delectable Wendy’s bacon included to maybe warrant the hefty price. This is still a pretty solid premium chicken sandwich for Wendy’s and there’s enough flavor and balance to keep a smile on my face. The ciabatta bun turned out to be the right choice on its second attempt… chicken makes all the difference.
Pros: Hearty chicken fillet topped with sauced spring mix balances out the thickness of the ciabatta. Asiago is a stand-out cheese.
Cons: Value. I wouldn't mind some added bacon for the price I paid.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.25/10
Price: $5.39 for the sandwich alone, $7.69 for the combo
Overall GrubGrade: 7.25/10
More Info: http://www.wendys.com/en-us/chicken/tuscan-chicken-ciabatta
580 calories, 27 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1530 milligrams of sodium, 53 grams of carbs, 4 grams of sugar, 4 grams of fiber, 31 grams of protein