Review: Mozzarella Sticks from McDonald’s
After being left for dead in the water by critics last summer, McDonald’s has sure turned things around. The introduction of All-Day Breakfast and fresher, higher quality menu items (like the Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Sandwich) have helped to bring customers back in and have made the Golden Arches one of the hottest stocks to have. The company isn’t resting on its laurels. Actually, they’re boldly going where they’ve never gone before: Mozzarella Sticks.McDonald’s describes their new Mozzarella Sticks like this:
Made with 100% real and melty mozzarella cheese breaded with a golden crust based in wheat flour that includes onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Sticks served hot with a side of zesty tomato-based marinara sauce with Italian herbs and spices. Let the dipping and stretching begin!
I once thought it would be a cold day in hell when I chose something other than fries as a side at McDonald’s, but it was actually a balmy 50 degrees on the East Coast. The temperature outside matched the temperature of the three crispy sticks; warm but not hot, the exteriors were just right but the interior mozzarella was a bit lukewarm.The flavor of the mozzarella left something to be desired. While I really liked the stretchy nature of the cheese, it didn’t have much natural milky flavor or that melted savory gooiness one gets from pizza. Frankly, I was OK with this; low-moisture mozzarella is only going to have so much flavor, especially being a lower-fat cheese. More importantly, the breading was truly outstanding. I may need to start a petition to get McDonald’s to make a special “Italian McNugget” out of this breading. It was thick and crunchy like panko, with a good but not overpowering flavor of onion and garlic, in addition to a savory herbal flavor. It was neither too salty nor greasy, and was plenty flavorful on its own. It’s a good thing, too, because the marinara sauce that McDonald’s serves is truly horrible. It has a funky acidic flavor that is off-putting, with an overwhelming sweetness that hangs over and distinct from the other flavors. I don’t expect much from fast food marinara, but I do expect something that tastes better than a bunch of uncooked sugar added to tomato paste.McDonald’s Mozzarella Sticks are a solid addition to the new 2 for $2 Menu that replaces the Dollar Menu and More, but as it stands right now, the company needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink its marinara sauce. Even so, the sticks themselves have enough flavor to be worth a changeup from fries every now and again, and point to more positive menu development from the Golden Arches.
Pros: Excellent and crispy breading loaded with garlic and herb flavor. Not greasy. Stretchy mozzarella. Less calories and more protein that French fries.
Cons: Average mozzarella lacks milky flavor. Marinara sauce is truly awful. Only three pieces to an order.
Grubbing on-the-go: 9.00/10
Price: $1.19 for 3 (or $1 as part of the new 2 for $2 Menu)
Overall GrubGrade: 7.00/10
More Info: mcdonalds.com
200 calories, 10 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 18 grams of carbs, 560 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of sugar, 9 grams of protein