Fast Food Review: NEW! Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt
Wendy’s new Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt don’t taste as natural as a freshly pulled, dirt-ridden Idaho spud, nor do they taste like the ocean – which, thanks to a rude introduction to surfing at the age of 18, I am very familiar with – but that’s OK. These are some solid fries, and after years of subversion to hamburgers on fast food menus everywhere, I can’t help but think ‘ol Dave is smiling down us and saying, “Thank God they finally got this fry thing right.”
As you no doubt know by now, Wendy’s has embarked on a crusade to bring the humble, often overlooked fry to the forefront of their marketing strategy. Whatever your opinion on the “old” Wendy’s fries, if you’re a fry fan, you have to admire the balls of a company willing to build a marketing strategy around a side item. A small order of fries will set you back $1.39, but considering the amount of fries you get in a “small” order, this is comparable to most fast food fry purchases. The first thing I noticed about the fries was their moderate size. I hadn’t had Wendy’s fries in years, and remember fat, steak-like fries that never seemed to crisp up. I understand they’ve updated their cut since my childhood days, but I was still taken aback my their pristine cut, which reminded me a lot like the In-N-Out fries. Thicker than McDonald’s fries, they gleamed with a moderate to heavy coating of salt. The “natural” element of the fries – the skin – could be seen on some of the fries, a good sign that the fries at least matched the advertisement.
As you saw in my video from Monday, my first bite in the warm, crispy fries was pleasant. They were everything I could have asked for: warm, crisp, salty and brimming with that natural earthy sweetness of a potato. Dirt, or residue from the ocean for that matter, was not present (thank goodness). Texturally, there was some difference in the crispiness and size of the fries, but that’s to be expected, and the thing that counted was that very few came out at overly crunchy and none came out as downright soggy. Interestingly, I found the surface area to be remarkably grease-less, and found the salty nature of the fries to compliment the sweet ketchup quite well.
Now, I know what you’re asking; Could you taste the difference with sea salt? In all honesty, no. I noticed a difference in the fries appearance with salt, and found the salt level to be desirable, but I don’t know if the “sea salt” lent anything in terms of flavor. But then again, I don’t know if I’m the kind of person who can truly distinguish “sea salt” with table salt given the chance, and I’m not sure the majority of American could either. Remember, this is not suppose to be an exotic, coarse and smoked sea salt that runs you a pretty penny in Williams Sonoma, but for what it’s worth I didn’t find the salt objectionable nor did I find it mind-blowingly awesome. Still, you have to realize we’re dealing with an extremely well executed menu item here in which simplicity rules, and which the potato – both from a textural and flavor standpoint – shines. Strictly speaking, I find these to be among the best fast food fries available, and considering the national range of Wendy’s, a strong contender to McDonald’s infamous fries. Needless to say, I ain’t subbing a side salad on my future combo meals at Wendy’s.
As for the prerequisite Frosty dunk? For an extra 99¢ it’s not like I was about to skip out on a small Frosty, and even though I’ve never “gotten” the whole dunk experience, I took one for the team and dumped several fries into the creamy drink. Good, but not great. I guess there are some fast food crazes which I will never get – new product innovations and all.
Pros: Crispy exterior with warm, fluffy interior. Solid amount of fries in small order. Salt makes me happy. Salt plus ketchup makes me very happy. No wimpy-limpy fries in batch. Not overly oily on outside, and not dried up inside. Potato skin. 5 grams of fiber per small serving makes it possible to reach your daily allowance based on a balanced diet of Froot Loops (Now with fiber, don’t you know) and French fries.
Cons: OK, so it doesn’t taste of the French seashore or the Idaho plains, but so freaking what? Not being able to enjoy properly with a frosty, resulting in me consuming frosty as is, which leads to severe brain-freezage during a Utah snowstorm. DO NOT LIKE. Knowing my local Wendy’s is getting killed a week into Chick-fil-A's opening next door (not gonna lie, went there for a sandwich afterwards).
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.50/10
Price: 1.39 for small order
Overall GrubGrade: 9.00 (Exceptional)
More Info: Wendy’s.com.
Wendy’s Natural Cut Fries with Sea Salt (small order)
Total Fat: 15 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 380 mg
Total Carbs: 41 g
Dietary Fiber: 5 g (!?!)
Sugars: 0 g
Protein: 4 g