First Impressions: NEW! Chicken Flatbreads from McDonald’s
Fresh off the national release of its Angus Snack Wraps (read our review here), McDonald’s seems to be testing a new line of products in the Baltimore market. The “deliciously unexpected” Chicken Flatbreads come in four flavors: Tuscan Tomato Basil, BBQ Bacon Ranch, Southwest, and Four Cheese. My local McDonald’s is running a promo on the flatbreads for a price of $1.89 each. On a recent trip to Micky D’s, my hermana and I chose the later option, going with the Tuscan Tomato Basil Flatbread and the Southwest Chicken Flatbread. Have a gander at the “official” description:
Get ready to enter a brand new flavor zone with McDonald’s Chicken Flabreads. Our new juicy grilled chicken is served on a warm flatbread with a roasted garlic spread, deliciously melted Fontina, Mozzarella, Monterey Jack and White Cheddar cheeses and unexpected ingredients such as the Southwest’s tangy Pico de Gallo and creamy guacamole. Give your appetite some tasty options!
At first I was somewhat disappointed with the size of the flatbreads, which come in their own containers and aren’t much bigger than the length of a person’s hand. My concerns, however, were misplaced. There was not only a good amount of chicken in the flatbread, but the interior showed a nice helping of chicken and pesto, as well as perfectly melted mozzarella cheese. Biting into the Tuscan Tomato Basil Flatbread was unlike any previous McDonald’s experience I have ever had. The flatbread was warm, moist and chewy, with a strong precense of roasted garlic and olive oil. It was subtly sweet and didn’t have any of those “off” mutligrain flavors that you some times get in a flatbread. The chicken was moist and extremely tender, with a solid grill flavor.
While salty, it was offset by the pesto, which was extremely flavorful in a way that you wouldn’t expect. In some ways it tasted like a panini with the sweet flavor of roasted tomatoes, red pepper and onions, and didn’t strike me as something you’d find in a fast food restaurant. It was just too good! There was great earthy and rich sweetness to the pesto, which really did taste “roasted,” while the basil flavor was pronounced but not overpowering. I don’t know if real, honest-to-God olive oil was used, but the richness of the oil wasn’t overly fake or buttery, and complimented the salty, gooey melted cheese quite nicely. The pesto and melted cheese made the flatbread quite oily, but it wasn’t heavy because of its relative size.
As for the Southwest Flatbread, it too came in warm, garlic and oil flavored flatbread, but was much more defined in terms of the amount of ingredients. A nice sized, cut-up grilled chicken breast was flavored with hints of cumin and paprika. The pico was fresh and had a good amount of spice and tomato flavor, while the guacamole was liberally applied and added a great cooling effect and creaminess. I liked how I could taste the cilantro in the pico but it wasn’t overpowering. Because there was no melted cheese this flatbread was not as oily as the Tuscan Tomato, and would really make a nice light lunch if combined with a side. It too earned high marks from both my sister and I. This former assertion is especially remarkable, since my sister usually will not eat anything at Micky D’s which is not fried and slathered with ketchup.
I enjoyed both flatbreads, and have only the highest praise for them. I really think McDonald’s has come out with an outstanding and innovative product. The pushing of an Italian flavor profile which is more fast casual than fast food is groundbreaking, and once more, the execution of the end product delivers. My only complaint is that there might be too much going on in each flatbread. If balanced correctly and made properly, I think the combinations workas out well, but I worry that local franchises might screw up the proportions of ingredients. This likely led to oily nature of my Tuscan Tomato Flatbread, came across as very oily due to the nature of the melted cheese, pesto and roasted garlic spread. Nevertheless, it’s a minor complaint, and at a very reasonable price these are a MUST TRY if you run across them.
Pros: Innovative Flavor Profiles. Perfectly melted cheese. Roasted Garlic spread has unmatched flavor in the fast food world, while the tomato basil-pesto brims with rich oil and basil sweetness that makes the perfect compliment for Mozzarella. High quality ingredients. Flavorful condiments that approach "fast casual" status. Warm, moist flatbread is perfectly vehicle for flavors. Portable. Not too messy. Flavorful while still not being heavy. Very affordable
Cons: Tuscan Tomato was a bit skimpy on ingredients. Too much oil in proportion to other fillings. My sister said the flatbread was a little too "dense" for her tastes. Limited time only in test markets, so please, GrubGraders, I'm begging you to LIKE THIS.
Grubbing on-the-go: 8.75/10
Price: 1.89 each, $5.78 in a meal: check regional availability
Overall GrubGrade: 9.25/10
More Info: McDonalds.com
McDonald's Chicken Flatbreads
Tuscan Basil Pesto: 260 calories, 11g fat (3.5g sat, 0g trans), 580mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protein)
Southwest: 260 calories, 11g fat (3g sat, 0g trans), 630mg sodium, 28g carbs, 2g fiber, 3g sugar, 14g protein)
BBQ Bacon Ranch: 290 calories, 13g fat (4 sat, 0g trans), 720mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 2g sugar, 16g protein)
4-Cheese: 240 calories, 9g fat (3 sat, 0g trans), 500mg sodium, 26g carbs, 1g fiber, 2g sugar, 14g protein)