Review: Rotisserie-Style Chicken from Subway
Whether you’re inclined to view it more as a marketing gimmick or not, one of the big trends in fast food over the past year or two has been the move toward antibiotic-free meat and poultry. Chains like Panera, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A have made great strides to eliminate antibiotics, but most fast food chains lag behind. One chain that is intent to catch up is Subway, which recently debuted a “hand-pulled” Rotisserie-Style Chicken sub that also features no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors. Hey, can’t be any worse than that rubbery old oven roasted chicken, can it?I bought a 6-inch version of the new sub for $4.75, adding cheese (shredded cheddar), tomatoes, peppers, and onions like the promo image suggests. I did make a slight tweak by going with honey oat bread and regular mustard over the default wheat and honey mustard.The first thing to admit with any Subway sub is that it’s not going to look like the promo image; maybe the best thing I can say about the outside appearance is that my sub wasn’t squished. As for the new chicken, two small trays with maybe an ounce and a half or so of chicken were loaded onto the top side of my sub and toasted with the cheese. I was surprised at the look of the meat, which seemed composed of equal mixtures of crunchy outside pieces and juicy interior pieces. When I examined the sub after ordering I saw that there was a good variation in the texture of the chicken, which really did look like it had come off the kind of rotisserie chicken you might by in a grocery store.Sadly, the flavor wasn’t anything to write home about. While it didn’t taste as enhanced or salty as the “oven roasted” chicken breast that comes with the fake grill marks, the flavor was just really plain. Slightly juicy, but bland. What’s more, some of the pieces were almost blackened nubs of chewy fat and dark meat, and didn’t offer much in the way of deep flavor. Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the chicken; actually, the one thought I had was that I could have gotten a much juicier and tastier chargrilled chicken breast at Chick-fil-A.Aside from the meat, the sub was average—which is to say it’s not a better sum of its parts than what Firehouse or Jimmy John’s is throwing together. The cheddar cheese has a nice milky flavor and gooey texture that really stands out, but the bread, veggies, cheese, and mustard were all just kind of there. I finished the sub thinking nothing was bad, but nothing was that great either.Subway’s Rotisserie-Style Chicken isn’t bad, but it lacks any “wow factor”on its own to make it something to seek out. While the meat is moderately juicy and really does look like “hand-pulled” rotisserie chicken, its flavor is relatively bland on its own, and can only go so far as the Subway build can take it. That build still falls behind the quality of chain sub shops like Jimmy John’s and Firehouse Subs, making the Rotisserie-Style Chicken more an achievement in marketing hype and sustainable food practices than a monument to sandwich artistry.
Pros: Chicken really looks hand-pulled. No off flavors or fake textures in the meat. Not overly salty or broth-like. Good melty texture on the cheese.
Cons: Chicken has bland flavor. Typical Subway “squished” bread effect. Nothing memorable about the flavor. Pricey by Subway standards.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.00/10
Price: $4.75 for 6-inch, $7.75 for Footlong
Overall GrubGrade: 5.00/10
More Info: subway.com
(6-inch sub on white or wheat with cheese and standard condiments):
420 calories, 10 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 52 grams of carbs, 870 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of sugar, 5 grams of fiber, 32 grams of protein, 45% calcium.