Category Archives: Fast Food Reviews

Fish Friday Review Wrap-Up

For the last 6 Fridays we have brought you fast food reviews from the sea.  The Lenten season is coming to a close so let’s get these reviews ranked…here they are…from worst to first.

#6  Deep Sea Double from CheckersGrubGrade: 4.75/10 (Poor)

  • Pros– Compared to other fast food fish sandwiches, you get more for your money (2 for $5 for a limited time)
  • Cons– Not much flavor in the fish except a little bitter taste.  Lettuce wasn’t very fresh.  High in calories and fat.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers

#5  BK Big Fish Sandwich from Burger KingGrubGrade: 5.50/10 (Mediocre)

  • Pros– As advertised, BK’s”Big Fish” is big.  Not too pricey at $3.09, especially for the size.  The corn dusted bun fits the size of the fish patty well, preventing a mess of a meal.  Decent tartar sauce.
  • Cons– Bun is too dry.  Fish patty is pretty bland.  Limp lettuce.  Bigger isn’t better when it isn’t the most appetizing fish sandwich in the fast food world.

BK Big Fish from Burger King

#4  Filet-O-Fish from McDonald’sGrubGrade: 6.00/10 (Average)

  • Pros– I like the simple, soft steamed bun.  Tasty tarter sauce with pickle relish.  It’s a classic.
  • Cons– Terrible value at $3.09.  Seems to be getting smaller.  Lower quality than Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich.

Filet-O-Fish from McDonald's

#3  Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich from Wendy’sGrubGrade: 8.25/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros–  Great corn dusted bun holds in everything nicely.  More filling and better quality than the McDonalds Filet-O-Fish sandwich.  Good crunch to the fish patty.  Includes fresh lettuce and tasty tartar sauce.
  • Cons– A bit pricey for the sandwich alone at $3.69.  Although the tartar sauce is tasty, there was just too much of it (this obviously is expected to vary from experience to experience).  Might be a little awkward/messy if you are eating on the go as the bun will shed it’s dust and you’re bound to stain something.

Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich from Wendy's

#2  Butterfly Shrimp Tackle Box from Popeye’sGrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros– Delicious cajun spices on everything.  Plump, flavorful shrimp.  A lot of food for $4.99.  Nice, sturdy, portable, ventilated box.  
  • Cons– Some shrimp have tails still on.  Shrimp can be a tad over-breaded and spicier than others.  Very fried, very greasy box of food.  860 calories and 49 grams of fat according to the Popeye’s website nutrition facts.  A ton of fries, could have been replaced some with a couple extra shrimp although it would have increased the price.

Butterfly Shrimp Tackle Box from Popeye's

#1  Fish Sandwich from Arby’sGrubGrade: 8.75/10 (Very Good)

  • Pros– Really good sized fish.  Great bun.  Nice thicker than normal breading.  Best tasting fast food fish sandwich I’ve encountered so far.  At a price of $2.99, it’s a better value than McD’s, BK and Wendy’s.
  • Cons– Fish is too odd-shaped to fit the bun perfectly.  Shredded lettuce could get messy.

Fish Sandwich from Arby's

Fast Food Review: Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King

Written by John, GrubGrade Contributor

The “Home of the Whopper” is also known to offer up some hefty chicken sandwiches as well.  While driving by my local BK, I noticed a poster on their window for a new sandwich.  Introducing the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King.

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King

The Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich is something totally new to me.  I didn’t realize that this sandwich was featured on the BK menu some years back.  Anyone recall the commercial featuring Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish?  Trippy.  This sandwich was something I had to try.  I have to say, this sandwich is pretty darn good.  The sandwich consists of a crispy chicken breast patty, bacon, cheddar cheese, ranch dressing, lettuce and tomato all inside a corn-dusted bun.  The chicken has a nice flaky crust on the outside and is tender and moist on the inside.  Had I not been in a car driving, I may have actually taken the chicken out of my sandwich and peeled the crust off just to enjoy it by itself.  The ranch sauce was your typical ranch dressing, but what I liked was the amount that was on the sandwich.  It was just the right helping of the dressing.  It wasn’t too much where it overpowered some of the other ingredients.  The ranch was applied in a way that it complimented the meal rather than taking it over.  

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich from Burger King (close)

The cheddar cheese was just ok and a few bites had me thinking of those individually wrapped Kraft singles.  Obviously, the lettuce wasn’t much to get excited about but it was nice to have some thick slices of fresh tomato on the sandwich.  What I found somewhat disappointing was the lack of flavor coming from the bacon.  The bacon was definitely there, but the flavor wasn’t.  If the name of the sandwich features bacon in it, you’d think the flavor of the bacon would be more memorable.  

Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch in hand

While the BK Burger Shots have gotten all the publicity as of late, I’m glad to see something new on the Burger King menu.  Chicken sandwiches may be overlooked in favor of the burgers at BK but you should check out the Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch.  Overall, this was a very good chicken sandwich that I’ll definitely get again.  I just hope next time I’ll notice the bacon.

  • Pros– Great chicken flavor.  Nice crust on the chicken.  With the exception of the bacon, all the ingredients go great together.
  • Cons– Lack of bacon flavor.  A bit messy.  If you’re driving and eating, make sure you have plenty of napkins.  I consider it a bit pricey at $4.69, but that’s probably because I enjoy the dollar menus!

Tendercrisp Chicken Sandwich from BK (open)

Taste:  8.00/10

Value:  5.00/10

Grubbing on the Go:  5.00/10

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GrubGrade:  8.00/10  (Very Good)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $4.69

BurgerKing.com

Nutrition Facts- Tendercrisp Bacon Cheddar Ranch Sandwich

Calories – 990

Total Fat – 58 grams

Saturated Fat – 17 grams

Trans Fat – 1 gram

Cholesterol – 125 milligrams

Sodium – 2190 milligrams

Carbs – 71 grams

Fiber – 4 grams

Protein – 47 grams

Fast Food Review: Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee’s

Rarely can I pass up a western-style burger.  The Rodeo Cheeseburger from Burger King is a personal favorite of mine.  So when Hardee’s added to their line of Thickburgers with a western version, I had to make the stop.  Introducing the Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee’s.  

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's

Padma Lakshmi and I might be soul mates.  She was all over the Western Bacon Burger in that Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. commercial.  You won’t be seeing me in a sexy dress having BBQ sauce spilling all over the place, but there’s just something about onion rings and BBQ sauce on a burger that makes it extra special.  So I can definitely relate to Padma’s “love affair” with food.  On a recent road trip, I drove passed at least 8 signs pointing towards a Hardee’s restaurant.  Only on my return trip did I decide to stop by and sample the Western Bacon Thickburger.  This burger is billed as, “A 1/3 lb. 100% black angus beef Thickburger topped with beer-battered onion rings, spicy sweet BBQ sauce, melted cheese, diced onion and strips of bacon.”  

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (close side)

The Thickburger beef patty is definitely hearty clocking in at a 1/3 pound.  I was happy it wasn’t overly greasy and had a “real burger” taste.  A lot of fast food burgers to me seem to get their flavor from being overly greasy.  This burger was able to maintain a nice burger flavor without dripping with grease.  The BBQ sauce, on the other hand, was definitely dripping from this beast.  It made the burger extra sloppy and the fact that the BBQ sauce wasn’t that great made it even worse.  The BBQ sauce is supposed to be “spicy sweet” and that’s just the way I like it.  What I got, in fact, was just a BBQ sauce taste which was neither spicy or sweet.  The strips of bacon on this burger overlaps everything and sticks out from the rest.  It was decent but didn’t really add or take away from the meal.  The cheese was melted well over the burger but really did nothing to add to the taste and just added to the calories and fat (warning this thing is 900 calories with 53 grams of fat!).  On the bottom of the burger there are a couple of pretty thick beer-battered onion rings.  The onion rings had a nice crunch to them but I couldn’t find their specific taste.  Where the onion ring lacks in flavor, the diced onion provides the backup.  Too bad the diced onion flavor overwhelmed the entire burger and I found myself scraping off some of them.  I think the diced onion really worked against the other flavors of the burger.  The sesame seed bun struggled to keep all the ingredients intact.  The Western Bacon Thickburger carried a price tag of $4.19 for the burger alone and $6 and change for the combo.  I must say, it’s a really nice sized burger but not worth $4.19.  I actually got sick of it three quarters of the way through and didn’t finish the entire thing.

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (open)

If I were to ever get this burger again, I would hold off on the diced onions and get a better idea of the flavors from the other ingredients.  I just hate when a meal is almost completely dominated by one of the ingredients, and that ingredient turns out to be your least favorite.  So I’m going to say that with a little customization, this burger holds some potential.  I won’t go as far as saying it was poor, but it’s really close.  As is, it wasn’t very impressive and had me longing for a Rodeo Cheeseburger from the BK value menu.

  • Pros– Nice crunch to the onion rings.  Hearty and big.  Has potential if you hold the diced onions.  Burger not overly greasy.
  • Cons– BBQ sauce wasn’t very spicy or sweet.  Too much onion taste.  Not cheap.  Sloppy.  900 calories and 53 grams of fat!

Western Bacon Thickburger from Hardee's (close side)

Taste: 5.25/10

Value: 5.00/10

Grubbing on the Go: 4.25/10

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GrubGrade:  5.00/10  (Mediocre)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price: $4.19

Hardees.com

Nutrition Facts: Western Bacon Thickburger

Calories – 900

Total Fat – 53 grams

Saturated Fat – 20 grams

Cholesterol – 100 milligrams

Sodium – 2040 milligrams

Carbs – 72 grams

Sugars – 19 grams

Dietary Fiber – 3 grams

Protein – 34 grams

Fast Food Review: Deep Sea Double from Checkers

Today marks the sixth “Fish Friday” review in a row for GrubGrade.  As the Lenten season comes to a close, I am happy to leave the cold waters and back onto dry land.  Last week I raved over the Arby’s Fish Sandwich and this week unfortunately takes a turn for the worst.  I give you my review of the Deep Sea Double from Checkers.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers (top)

Checkers advertises itself as “Little Place, Big Taste”, but the (2 for $5) Deep Sea Double fish sandwich I will advertise to my audience as “Little Cost, Big Disappointment”.  The Deep Sea Double is billed as “Two breaded white fish filets, fresh American cheese, tarter sauce and crisp lettuce on a toasted bun.”  The two fish patties are square and a little bitter tasting.  They were pretty dry and crusty around the edges.  With each bite I kept thinking of old grease being used to fry up these patties and being held down too long, thus drying out the fish in spots.  Other than the slightly bitter taste, they really didn’t pack a lot of flavor.  The tarter sauce didn’t stand out at all with this sandwich.  Maybe if it was a single fish patty, instead of a double, it would’ve changed my opinion.  Honestly, I couldn’t tell if there was tarter sauce or mayonnaise mixing in with the lettuce on the top bun.  The bottom bun had a better coating of tartar sauce but still didn’t stand out much.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers (closeup) The Deep Sea Double places one slice of American cheese in between the two fish patties.  The melted cheese glues together the patties well but never made an impact in the taste department until my final bites.  The shredded lettuce wasn’t very fresh and it was good that the sandwich wasn’t packed to the gills with it (bad pun intended).  Now to the “toasted” sesame seed bun.  Why is it that 75% of the time a fast food joint mentions a toasted bun, it doesn’t seem to be the case?  What is with that?  The bun was fresh and soft and did it’s job holding together the sandwich but, shocker, it did not appear to be toasted.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers (split)

Overall, I think Checkers swung and missed with the Deep Sea Double.  One of the few redeeming qualities is that they are on sale, 2 for $5.  I recommend spending your $5 bucks on the Arby’s Fish Sandwich or the Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet.  Let’s face it though, Checkers will always get by on the burgers.  As this Lenten season ends, let’s forget we even encountered the Deep Sea Double and find a Checker Double Decker Burger to help erase the memory.

  • Pros– Compared to other fast food fish sandwiches, you get more for your money (2 for $5 for a limited time)
  • Cons– Not much flavor in the fish except a little bitter taste.  Lettuce wasn’t very fresh.  High in calories and fat.

Deep Sea Double from Checkers (collage)Taste:  4.50/10

Value:  8.00/10

Grubbing on the Go:  6.50/10

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GrubGrade:  4.75/10  (Poor)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price: 2 for $5.00 (promo price)

Checkers.com

Nutrition Facts: Deep Sea Double

Calories – 640

Total Fat – 31 grams

Saturated Fat – 13 grams

Trans Fat – 1 gram

Cholesterol – 95 milligrams

Sodium – 1170 milligrams

Total Carbs – 63 grams

Dietary Fiber – 5 grams

Sugars – 5 grams

Protein – 25 grams

Fast Food Review: Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A

Written by Heather, GrubGrade Contributor

The Chick-fil-A slogan is “EAT MOR CHIKIN” and that’s exactly what I did.  Chick-fil-A is known for their “Classic” Chicken Sandwich and delicious breakfast Chick-n-Mini’s, but they do have healthier options that are pretty tasty too.  Introducing the Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A.

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A

It seems that Chick-fil-A offers healthier choices than most fast food restaurants.  The Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich is a good example of one of those offerings.  With only 260 calories and 3 grams of fat, you can watch your caloric and fat intake while still enjoying a scrumptious sandwich. The sandwich consists of a grilled boneless chicken breast which is marinated in special seasonings and served on a toasted golden wheat bun.  It is complimented by two dill pickle slices (which seem to be a standard at Chick-fil-A), a heap of fresh green leaf lettuce and sliced tomato.  It is served with a packet of Honey Roasted BBQ sauce.

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A (open)

The packaging is a styrofoam carton that barely holds the sandwich.  Upon opening it, the first thing you notice is the wheat bun.  The fresh wheat bun is very lightly toasted and it held the sandwich together well.   It had a nice heartier flavor that your ordinary buns don’t have.  You also notice the over-abundance of lettuce.  Although the lettuce was fresh and crisp, there was so much of it that I had to take half of it off.  The two slices of tomato didn’t provide much flavor and didn’t seem quite as fresh.  That could be chalked up to the fact that we aren’t really in prime tomato season.  The two dill pickles chips are placed on the bottom bun underneath the chicken breast (as is the case with most CFA chicken sandwiches).  The pickles are not overpowering, but add a nice touch of flavor to the sandwich.   As for the chicken breast, it is very tasty and is a good size, actually hanging over the bun.  There isn’t really any grease with this sandwich and it has a very clean, fresh taste to it.  The chicken was very moist and could really be eaten without adding any kind of sauce.  I’m not a big fan of Honey Roasted BBQ sauce so I chose to eat my sandwich with their special “Chick-fil-A” sauce (which is a Honey Mustard/BBQ sauce that is made for their Chick-n-Strips).  Obviously, the sauce made the sandwich a little messier.  

Sauces: Just 2 of many Chick-fil-A has to offer

Sauces: Just 2 of many Chick-fil-A has to offer

I’m not sure that this would be a good on-the-go sandwich as the condiments tend to slip off as you are eating it.  Overall it is a healthy, filling sandwich.  Too plain for some?  Chick-fil-A also offers a “Chargrilled Chicken Club” that adds cheese and bacon to the mix.

  • Pros:   Good size chicken breast packed with flavor.  Fresh tasty bun.  Healthy choice.
  • Cons:  Chicken breast shaped so that it hangs over the bun.  Bun isn’t as “toasty” as I had expected.  An over-abundance of lettuce.  A little pricey.  Not a good selection for grubbing on the go.

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from CFA (collage)

Taste:   8.75/10

Value:  7.75/10

Grubbing on the Go:  6.50/10

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GrubGrade:  8.50/10  (Very Good)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $3.39

ChickfilA.com

Nutrition Facts:

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A

Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A

Fast Food Review: Fish Sandwich from Arby’s

Just to be upfront with everyone, I cannot find this item on the Arby’s website.  I assure you it does exist and as fish sandwiches go, it’s very good.  It’s Friday so here’s another fish review.  The elusive “Fish Sandwich” from Arby’s.

Fish Sandwich from Arby's 1

While known for roast beef and curly fries, Arby’s can actually impress me from time to time with it’s menu variety.  I love the Chicken Salad Marketfresh Sandwich and the Jamocha shake.  I also appreciate that you can get any of Arby’s Marketfresh sandwiches made into a wrap.  I have to say, it’s Lent and I promised fishy reviews on Friday’s and I’ve saved this one for a few weeks.  It truly is the king of fish sandwiches when it’s lined up against industry titans, McDonald’s (Filet-O-Fish reviewed) and Burger King (BK Big Fish reviewed).  I did enjoy the Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet Sandwich but Arby’s did it better.  First off, the fish patty isn’t shaped like a CD case.  The Arby’s fish isn’t molded into a square and it sort of takes the shape of an actual fish.  I’m just not used to seeing that with fast food fish.  At least that gives me hope that it’s a fish and not parts of 14 different fish pressed into a patty.  The fish has tasty breading and a light crunch which is exactly what I look for in this type of sandwich.  Not too crunchy and overwhelming to the point where it disguises what I’m eating.  The breading is thicker and more prominent than on other fast food fish.  This sandwich also contains the standard tartar sauce which I found to compliment the meal better than the rest.  A decent sprinkling of shredded lettuce adheres to the sauce and coats the inside of the bun.  I rarely venture out seeking a fish sandwich but this is one that really stood out.  I must say, I have had this sandwich more than just recently.  I remember I gave it a shot last year and could recall it was one of the better fish sandwiches I’ve tried.  This most recent visit confirms it.  Especially after trying most of the others.

Fish Sandwich from Arby's 2

If I could find this sandwich at Arby’s all the time, I wouldn’t be against ordering it on a regular basis.  It might be hard to track down but I recommend trying it if you do.  The McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish I felt was too small and the BK Big Fish was too dry.  It just hasn’t been the most impressive lineup until now.  I also must add that this sandwich is $2.99 which is cheaper than the fish sandwich at Wendy’s ($3.69) and McDonald’s ($3.09).  When comparing it to the rest of the competition this one is my favorite.  

  • Pros– Really good sized fish.  Great bun.  Nice thicker than normal breading.  Best tasting fast food fish sandwich I’ve encountered so far.  Better value than McD’s and BK.
  • Cons– Fish is too odd-shaped to fit the bun perfectly.  Shredded lettuce could get messy.

Arby's Fish Sandwich CollageTaste:  8.75/10

Value:  8.50/10

Grubbing on the Go:  7.50/10

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GrubGrade:  8.75/10  (Very Good)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price:  $2.99

Arbys.com

Nutrition info not available

Fast Food Review: BK Breakfast Shots from Burger King

Unfortunately, the BK Burger Shots left me somewhat unimpressed.  I figured there could be some redemption within the tiny breakfast sandwich version.  Introducing the BK Breakfast Shots from Burger King.  

BK Breakfast Shots from Burger King

The BK Breakfast Shots are simply tiny breakfast sandwiches.  Ingredients consist of egg, cheese, cheesy ranchero sauce and your choice of sausage, bacon or ham.  One of my biggest gripes with the BK Burger Shots was how uninspired they were.  They really didn’t offer up anything new or exciting other than being smaller than a typical burger.  They were very average and I won’t be in a rush to get them again anytime soon.  I felt the Burger Shots suffered from being plain and the bread was a little on the dry side.  I was happy that the Breakfast Shots used a softer more breakfast-y style bun that was sort of reminiscent of a croissant.  While none of the ingredients stood out as being anything amazing, the Breakfast Shots were more satisfying than the Burger Shots.  They come in sets of 2, wrapped up in a tearable paper packaging (see above pics) that eases with grubbing on the go and not getting too messy.  The problem with the packaging is that it almost requires you to grip down on the sandwiches to tear them apart from one another.  The extra soft bread takes a hit and you end up with sandwiches that look like they’ve been stepped on.

  • BK Breakfast Shots with Sausage:  The sausage version of the Breakfast Shot was the most filling of the 3 meat choices.  Also because of the added size, this version also packed more flavor than the others.  The sausage was a good size and it overlapped the tiny bun in some areas.  It wasn’t overly greasy.  My favorite of the 3.
Sausage BK Breakfast Shot

Sausage BK Breakfast Shot

  • BK Breakfast Shots with Bacon:  The bacon version was flavorful but I was let down the most by this one.  There wasn’t much bacon at all so the tiny sandwich was consumed by bread, egg and cheese.  The bacon was a little too chewy for my liking but there wasn’t enough of it (barely 2 small pieces) to get too bothered.  I don’t think the cheesy ranchero sauce went as well with this one as it did on the others.  My second favorite of the 3.
Bacon BK Breakfast Shot

Bacon BK Breakfast Shot

  • BK Breakfast Shots with Ham:  My least favorite of the 3 meat choices.  The ham was a little on the cold side, as if some cold cuts were thrown in there.  I would’ve preferred the ham to have a bit of a crisp to it.  So my experience felt like a warm breakfast sandwich with not so warm ham.  Some BK menus still have the $1.00 Ham Omelette Sandwich so if you can find that, get that instead if you’re craving ham.  My least favorite of the 3.
Ham BK Breakfast Shot

Ham BK Breakfast Shot

While not as disappointing as the BK Burger Shots, the Breakfast Shots as a whole didn’t live up to the hype.  Was there hype?  I don’t know.  I don’t think these Burger Shots and Breakfast Shots were marketed too well.  It doesn’t matter much because they turned out to be nothing too special anyways.  The Sausage Breakfast shot was the best out of the 3.  For the most part, they were good but I probably won’t be getting them again.  I’m looking forward to Burger King getting passed this “mini” phase and on to something else.

  • Pros– Bite-sized.  Decent portion of egg.  Tasty, almost croissant-like bread.  3 choices (sausage, bacon, ham)  $1.50 for 2.  Easy to eat on the run.
  • Cons– Better breakfast options available on the BK menu.  Too gimmicky.  Packaging could be better.  Ranchero cheese sauce was basically just cheese sauce with a fancy name.

Taste: 7.50/10

Value: 8.00/10

Grubbing on the Go: 8.00/10

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GrubGrade:  7.75/10  Sausage BK Breakfast Shot  (Good)

GrubGrade:  7.50/10  Bacon BK Breakfast Shot  (Good)

GrubGrade:  6.75/10  Ham BK Breakfast Shot  (Average)

(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)

Price: $1.50 for 2

BurgerKing.com

Nutrition Facts – (pending)