Review: New Grilled Chicken Sandwich from Wendy’s
In the span of two years grilled chicken has become the new black on fast food menu boards. Once a chewy saline afterthought that only calorie-conscious consumers considered, grilled chicken has gotten a makeover that’s at least partially due to the growing popularity and marketing buzz around antibiotic free and “all natural” chicken.Chick-fil-A, Carl’s Jr., Subway, and McDonald’s have all revamped their grilled chicken in the last two years, and after testing a new grilled chicken sandwich recipe last year, Wendy’s has quietly taken an improved recipe of the Grilled Chicken Sandwich national.
The Wendy’s website describes the new sandwich like this:
Wendy’s New Grilled Chicken Sandwich is a juicy, all-white meat chicken breast fillet, marinated in a blend of herbs, topped with a smoky honey mustard, vibrant spring mix and fresh-cut tomato, all served on a toasted, multigrain bun.
I can’t remember the last time I had the grilled version of Wendy’s Chicken sandwich, but from what I remember, it was like a lot of grilled chicken I’ve had in the past: so-so, but not desirable in its own right. This new sandwich definitely stood out for me though, even though it’s pretty simple.The grilled chicken was plump, juicy, and tasted slightly sweet. There was a pleasant garlic and herb flavor about the meat, which didn’t taste overly enhanced or saline. While the interior meat was excellent, the surface sear rendered a bit of slick, oily product that lacked a smoky taste. I prefer the authentic grilled marks and textural contrast that’s produced from Chick-fil-A’s grilling process, although, tucked within a sandwich, the lack of “grilled” texture and flavor is more forgivable.The test product came with an herb sauce not unlike the sauce McDoanld’s uses for their Artisan Chicken Sandwich, but the herb sauce seems to have been replaced by a “smoky honey mustard sauce”. I thought this sauce really made the sandwich; it’s sweet, tangy, complex, and has a thick body almost like mayo. I did pick up some smoky notes and really enjoyed an almost Dijon-like mustard flavor. The spring mix comes off as pretentious but I found it preferable to shredded iceberg. It was definitely fresh, as was the thick, center-cut tomato slice. I was a bit conflicted on the bun, which seems to be a whole grain variation of the “premium bun” that Wendy’s revamped for their Hot ‘n Juicy line of burgers. While I liked the sweetness, freshness, and the nutty toppings, I thought it was a bit dense and too squishy. It didn’t detract from the sandwich, but it wouldn’t have been my first choice (that, thanks to the honey mustard, would have been the LTO pretzel bun).Overall, I’d rank Wendy’s new Grilled Chicken Sandwich as better than McDonald’s Artisan Chicken Sandwich but not as good as Chick-fil-A’s Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich. At $4.99, it’s about what I’d expect to pay for a grilled chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant, so it’s a decent value. It’s definitely a good pick for health-conscious consumers, and doesn’t make you regret not buying a cheeseburger.
Pros: Juicy, tasty chicken breast. Fresh toppings. Bun has an enjoyable malted sweetness and whole grain taste. Smoky honey mustard sauce offers sweet, tangy, and smoky notes that cut the bitterness of the greens.
Cons: Even with the sauce the sandwich is a bit plain; screams for a slice of cheese or bacon. Chicken breast lacks the authentic grill taste and seared texture. Bun is a bit too squishy.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Overall GrubGrade: 7.00/10
More Info: wendys.com
360 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 820 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 35 grams of protein.