Review: Steakhouse Onion Rings from Arby’s
Check out Adam’s new blog, Option Pitch and Waffle Crisp: How Faith, Breakfast Cereal, and College Football Explain the World.
Do you ever get sick of the usual french fries on the side? Hard as it is for me to resist starch and salt in fried form, I’ve come to find a number of fast food fries to be only average. Arby’s is one of those places. While I absolutely love the seasoning blend used on their signature Curly Fries, the ones I order are almost always limp, displaying a complete lack of fluffy interior goodness and all too often coming swimming in a pool of excess oil. Given how much I usually eat at Arby’s I thought I’d forgo the fries on a recent combo meal purchase, and upgrade to the venerable cousin of the fried spud: the onion ring. Arby’s Steakhouse Onion Rings are described as follows:
These go great with life. Battered and fried to golden perfection, Arby’s® Steakhouse Onion Rings are what onion rings are supposed to taste like.
Unlike some of our readers, I’ve never been a huge onion ring guy. The best I’ve ever had are almost always panko breaded and find their way onto the small plate menus of gastropubs and served with some kind of exotic aioli. Actually, to the best of my knowledge, I’d never actually had a fast food onion ring before trying Arby’s.
The onion rings come in one size (priced at $1.99) and pack a wallop at 460 calories and 24 grams of fat. Given that my order came with four rings, that works out to a cool 115 calories per onion ring — not exactly the kind of food you want to base a New Year’s Resolution around.
The breading is definitely crispy, with patches of browned edges that have a somewhat deeper flavor. There’s a distinct flavor of cornmeal and onion powder on those toasted edges, but not much else. I don’t eat at steakhouses that often (actually, ever) but I fail to see how the rings represent the flavors of a steakhouse. I’m not completely turned off by the salty and garlic-heavy exterior, but that’s thanks more to the army of sauces Arby’s wields than anything else.
The biggest problem with the rings is inconsistency. One of my rings was absolutely beyond repair — with all moisture having been sucked out of the onion, it was hollow on the interior, seemingly only a husk of crunchy breading. The others were OK texture wise, but the interior of the ring remained slimy and flavorless, with none of the onion’s natural sweetness coming through. In many ways the interior of these rings reminded me of a mellow flavor of an onion when microwaved.
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to a crunchy craving, these hit the spot more than Curly Fries. But given the nutrition, price, and lack of appeal in terms of flavor, I really can’t get behind them. Oh well. I guess there’s always Mozzarella Sticks to try, right?
Sodium: 1400 mg
Pros: Change-of-pace side. Breading is both crispy and crunchy. Plenty of sauce options.
Cons: Terribly inconsistent with interior texture. Only four to an order. Calorie-bomb. Doesn't taste like anything in a "steakhouse." More expensive than fries. Fatburger does it better.
Grubbing on-the-go: 7.50/10
Overall GrubGrade: 5.00 Mediocre
Arby's Steakhouse Onion Rings
Total Fat: 24 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 1400 mg
Total Carbs: 56 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Sugars: 6 g
Protein: 6 g