Fast Food Review: New! Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s

I’ve been extremely jealous of Europeans for most of my life. No, not because I fantasize about socialism and nude beaches, but because their fast food looks so dang tasty when compared to ours. I mean seriously. Cadbury Creme McFlurries? Sign me up! Ciabatta Delux Burger? Um, yes please! But what do we get back here in the good ol’ US of A? None of that, that’s what we get. Instead of innovative flavor profiles it seems like the only risks fast food companies are taking is rolling out the “spicy” menu items.  Oh please.  Even Bobby Flay has moved beyond rubbery cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and fake chipotle sauce. Nonsensical I say; I demand something with actual taste!

Thankfully, Wendy’s has heard my call for help, and is willing to indulge the  part of me which longs for my ancestral homeland of Italy. As we told you the other day, Wendy’s has revamped their entire line of premium chicken sandwiches, adding “artisan” buns and promising a “100% whole breast fillet.” Introducing the new changes in the Salt Lake City and Columbus markets, one of the two new additions to the Wendy’s premium chicken menu is the Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich. Featuring Asiago Cheese, a grilled chicken breast fillet, balsamic glaze, and bruschetta topping tucked between that new, buttered “artisan bun”, the sandwich retails for $4.49 on it’s own. For that kind of price, it better be worth it to me, especially considering I blew the extent of my textbook buyback money on it, in the process passing up the equivalent of four small Frostys.

Well, I’m sure glad I did, because this is, without a doubt, the most flavorful grilled chicken sandwich I have ever eaten at a fast food restaurant. Granted, grilled chicken sandwiches are not exactly a fast food specialty – but if anything, the Bruschetta Chicken proves that the longtime “healthier” menu options need not be relegated to an overpriced, boring, bone-dry piece of enhanced white meat that tastes just as awesome as it sounds (ahem, Sonic.) That it contains a flavor profile that doesn’t rely on “hot,” “spicy” or “cheddar” is definitely a plus, and might just be the most innovative chicken sandwich to hit the market since Carl’s Jr.’s short-lived Parmesan Chicken.

This isn’t just the jingoistic Italian in me talking though. The new buns are actually pretty good. They’re soft, pillowy, yet firm, and the buttered coating is flavorful and works to keep the integrity of the bun without saturating it in liquid. It also actually tastes like butter and not partially hydrogenated liquid soybean oil, which is a huge plus. It’s chewy without being honey wheaty like most chicken sandwich buns, and has a slightly sweet taste. As for the bruschetta topping, it’s the real deal.  I mean, this is the kind of stuff I expect to eat in a sit down chain. The tomatoes are fresh and firm and sweet, while a hearty portion of basil, garlic and onion gives a great Italian flavor that could more than pass as a bruschetta topping at any Italian chain. The glaze is sweet and has good body – neither too oily, nor too runny. It’s more restrained on the tang component and acidity, but once again, it’s better than one would hope to find at a fast food restaraunt.

Interestingly enough though, I find the dominant flavor on my first bite to actually be the cheese. This is not your ordinary, half-melted Cheddar or American. True, you could complain it’s not authentic, aged Asiago d’allevo of DOP protected status, but look, this is Wendy’s we’re talking about. For what it is, it is extremely good – slighty nutty with a meaty flavor, it’s got more body than any fast food cheese I’ve had, as in ever. It offsets the sweetness of the glaze nicely, and it’s a definite plus in this application.

That new “100% breast fillet,” you ask? Better than the previous attempts by Wendy’s, and, in my opinion, rivals Chick-fil-A’s Chargrilled Chicken. I don’t think it’s as tender or juicy as Chick-fil-A’s breast (marinated in pickle juice, I’m told) but it’s by no means dry, and by no means enhanced. As you can see, it is a full breast, and has no rib meat added. It even has the slightly sweet taste of chicken after you chew it. My only complaint (and it’s minor) is that it doesn’t seem marinated in a balsamic flavor, and is thus at the mercy of the glaze, which unfortunately is not also applied on the underside of the sandwich, where it would even better play off the nutty, salty cheese.

Minor complaints… Yes, at $4.49, it’s approaching the high-end of fast food prices for a single menu item. But then again, it’s approaching, if not surpassing, that of sit down chain food. Considering Wendy’s offers customizable sides in their combos, and considering the sandwich really can’t be duplicated on the fast food market, I’d say it’s a good value despite the price. I’d also say it’s incredibly tasty, and will even give diehard fried chicken sandwich fans reason to go grilled. Oh yea, Viva Italia!

Pros: Sit-down Italian chain flavor at fast food restaraunt. Grilled chicken that's moist and flavorful on it's own, but takes on another level with unparalleled toppings. Nutty, meaty cheese pairs perfectly with sweetness of balsamic, brightness of herbs, and crispness of tomato. Not having to write a review describing something as "hot" or "spicy."

Cons: Admitting Europe ain't so bad after all. Somewhat pricey. Sauce could be infused in the chicken better or also could be coated on underside of bun. Limited availability.

Taste: 9.25/10
Value: 8.00/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $4.49

Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)

More Info:
Nutrition Facts:
Grilled Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich on Artisan Bun
Calories: 450
Total Fat: 13 g
Saturated Fat: 6 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 105 mg
Sodium: 1430 mg
Total Carbs: 45 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugars: 11 g
Protein: 39 g

17 comments on “Fast Food Review: New! Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s

  1. wow. well it looks like a gross mess, but you really sold me on it. i would definitely give this a try, despite its awful price. that bun sounds great. i hope it makes it to tampa.

    • Adam says:

      Like I said, in a combo it’s not so bad, if you have a good wendy’s think of it as a better deal than going to like red robin.

  2. Scott says:

    “Back in the day”, Wendy’s had a Chicken Parmesan sandwich that was so delicious, it became my favorite food group in High School/College. Unfortunately, the fact that I was a slacker, er, student, albeit working (at a fast food restaurant no less), I could not afford this delicacy very often. I think it was North of $3.50, and this was “back in the day”! I think I made about that much an hour, or somewhere thereabouts. Needless to say, Wendy’s “learned their lesson” from lack of sales, and offered less sensational food for less $$ from then on (until now?)

  3. SkippyMom says:

    This just looks and sounds amazing. Nice protein, lower calories – the sodium stinks – boo! but otherwise. This is a keeper. 🙂

    Adam I think Wendy’s needs to put you in a commercial. I can “hear” your enthusiasm. I want one now. YUM

    • Adam says:

      What’s a good savory option that’s low in sodium in fast food? If you can come up for one, they ought to hire you!

  4. Chuck says:

    Wow… the chicken itself actually looks good…

  5. Ginia says:

    Is this at all comparable to the bruschetta chicken sandwich that Jack in the Box used to have? Those things were DELICIOUS, buy my local chain stopped carrying them a while ago.

  6. J.B. says:

    Not bad looking and looks about 90% close to the picture in the ad.
    I will definitely try it.

  7. Mike N says:

    I wish BK would bring back their Italian chicken sandwich again; those were a great indulgence.

    • Jade says:

      KFC in the UK do one as part of a limited-edition box meal 😀 It’s really good.

      It’s funny – as a European I always feel like Asia has the most interesting fast food options.

  8. rachel says:

    Okay, you’ve sold me. I’m trying this for lunch sometime this week.

  9. ChrisLad says:

    I’ll probably be sticking to Chick-Fil-A for chicken but this is a very creative new product. A chicken sandwich that doesn’t have ranch, heat, cheese, or bacon. Wow that’s not what I’m use to.

    It’s actually not badly priced at all when you compare to the high-quality chicken sandwichs at McDonalds (which are poor values really). This looks like a better, more interesting product.

  10. ohiorn says:

    We actually had the option of trying the sandwich last night while in Columbus. I am not sure if it was the fact that we were eating in our car at midnight out of desperation, or if it really is that creative, but I have to say that it was very good. The Asiago chicken also looked tasty, but I finally decided on this item. I would definately get this again. I hope that it is added to the menu. I had read somewhere online that these items would be added onto the menu in the fall. Not sure if that is true or not.

  11. Bumblebee says:

    I ordered one for the first time today. They asked me if I wanted it grilled or crispy. I said grilled………what do you think I got? I opened my bag after I got back to work and it was fried. I never eat fried chicken. I was quite disappointed. I thought the sauce tasted kind of artificial and it was too sweet.

    • Adam says:

      That’s why I always stay in to eat. Complaing works a lot better when you’re there, but I encourage you to return and demand a properly made sandwich!

  12. joanne says:

    I have been debating on this sandwich for weeks. Well, after reading the first couple paragraphs (I think I got about as far as you saying it was “the most flavorful grilled chicken sandwich I have ever eaten at a fast food restaurant.”) I stood up, grabbed my purse and went straight across the street from my office, to Wendy’s. Thank you for posting this review because I am SO glad I tried it! It’s wonderful– especially for fast food! I also agreed with you when you said the first thing you tasted was the asiago… that was my first reaction too. Thanks again for helping me decide to try this– it’ll be a favorite for me while they have it, I’m sure.

  13. Sorry folks…..not at all that good. As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have ever posted a complaint on any fast food. I learned not to have great expectations long ago. But I have always been a fan of Wendy’s or at least I was until Dave died.

    It really seems to me that the overall quality began to deteriorate back then. He may no longer have been in charge but I think there was some effort to keep him happy. I fear Dave would be less than pleased with many of the current menu selections including the original items still there. This particular sandwich was pretty bad. If you liked it, good for you. I didn’t nor did any of the others who also tried one at lunch today.