Fast Food Review: Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sub from Arby’s
Yes, the commercial is annoying. Yes, at $4.99 it’s definitely expensive for a single sandwich. But dag nabbit, Arby’s new Angus Three Cheese and Bacon toasted sub will live up to its slogan and put you in good mood. And trust me – considering it managed to brighten my day on a cold, dreary Logan afternoon, it’s bound to make whatever sunshiny paradise you live in brim with multicolored smiley faces, and may even change your mind when considering if “Angus”is just a clever marketing term or an actual quality of meat.
As you know by now, Arby’s has been hitting the marketing trail in full force with their “Good Mood Food” slogan and the Angus Three Cheese and Bacon sub. I usually limit myself to the Arby’s value menu, but when faced with the description of the 660 calorie (33 g fat) behemoth of a toasted sub, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to sample it.
oven-roasted, thinly sliced Angus beef with swiss and cheddar cheeses, parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and pepper bacon served on a toasted Italian-style roll.
I began by sampling the Angus beef. We’ve all heard legends about “Angus beef” ever since McDonald’s starting using it as a marketing buzz word a few years back, and ever since, we’ve also been at the mercy of enlightened food blog commentators who’ve told us that there may or may not be a taste benefit in choosing Angus. Arby’s is among the latter, of course, with their new blogger – chef Brian – exclaiming the virtues of Angus beef.
Angus is a special breed of cattle and it needs to meet strict requirements before it gets the Angus approval. At Arby’s, we only use USDA Choice Black Angus. It’s slow roasted, to peak perfection. So when it comes out of the oven it’s juicy, tender, and more flavorful.
OK, so I may not be into the Angus beef McDonald’s is pushing, but I’ve gotta give chef Brian the benefit of the doubt here. From my tasting, the Arby’s Angus beef itself is extremely moist, salty, peppery but also beefy. It may be salty, but it doesn’t taste enhanced like the Arby’s roast beef. Lets put it this way, if Arby’s roast beef is Carl Budding, than the Arby’s Angus beef is the premium stuff you get sliced for you at the deli counter.
For as good as the beef is, it is a little one dimensional in flavor, with the meaty and saltiness having nothing to balance the flavor out. That’s where the other components of the sandwich come in. While I agree with Slashfood in that an element of sweetness (such as Arby’s BBQ sauce) could really help this sandwich, I like it as served. My first bite of the entire sub reminded me of a cheddar and sour cream potato chip, but a very complex kettle and sour cream potato chip at that. The smoky and peppery flavor of the bacon – both crispy on the edges but still retaining some rich and juicy fat – was probably the best fast food bacon experience I’ve had this side of Chick-fil-A. The cheeses created a rich and creamy texture that only made the Angus beef seem all the more savory. I loved the creaminess and spiciness of the parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and unlike Slashfood I did detect multiple cheese flavors, although I’ll admit it may be a stretch to pinpoint each cheese, and that the parmesan stood out the most. As for the sub roll, I like the crispy hoagie roll, and think it represents the sandwich idea well.
One of the reasons I liked this sandwich so much because it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite sandwiches – the Philly Filet from The Elements restaurant. True, it may not be the most balanced in terms of sweetness, but an application of BBQ sauce can fix that, and when you think about it, a traditional cheese steak isn’t exactly ‘balanced,’ although, like Slashfood, I have to say the sandwich would take on truly exceptional sandwich if grilled peppers or onions were included. It is what it is – savory, salty, meaty, and creamy – and in Arby’s application, it’s taken to a premium level. That a really high quality pepper bacon comes with it is only a huge plus in my mind, and the force which gives my veggie “want” second pause.
I like Arby’s menu enough to say that there are other – and cheaper – options that may be worth it. Yet even at $5, I’d say this is a better, more filling, and more enjoyable sandwich to eat than a $5 Footlong at Subway. Actually, it puts it to shame, especially considering Subway’s weak bacon and mundane cheese combinations. We’ve disliked Arby’s subs in the past here at GrubGrade, but this is not just “another” roast beef sandwich. So next time your thinking of spending that $5 on a footlong from Subway, I say take your money to Arby’s instead. Hey, it’s worth a try, and if nothing else it may just have you humming that “good mood” song you swear would never get stuck in your head.
- Pros: Angus roast beef lives up to its billing as lean and juicy. Tasty, crispy bread. Creamy and peppery cheese that tastes like a multifaceted potato chip. Bold and peppery bacon flavor that ranks supreme among all fast food bacon and tastes like actual smoke and not that fake crap most places use. Comes in a really cool looking wrapper. Awesome source of protein. Puts you in a good mood.
- Cons: Expensive price at $4.99 for just the sandwich – especially for college students. Tastes overly salty and savory, and could benefit from some sweetness. Cheddar cheese isn’t creamy so much as it is crispy, and Swiss is somewhat lost. Having to eat salad the rest of the day to make up for all that saturated fat and sodium.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Overall GrubGrade: 8.00 (Very Good)
More Info: Arbys.com
Angus Three Cheese and Bacon Sub from Arby's
Calories – 660
Total Fat – 33 grams
Sat. Fat – 13 grams
Trans Fat – 0.5 grams
Cholesterol – 115 milligrams
Sodium – 1810 milligrams
Carbs – 64 grams
Dietary Fiber – 2 grams
Sugars – 3 grams
Protein – 47 grams