Well, maybe, not as much.
Beef prices have skyrocketed due to this year’s drought causing food companies to adjust their sizes and prices accordingly. For example, there’s Burger King who downsized to burger peasant with value menu attempts like the Bacon Burger. That, at least, is one way of trying to solve the problem of how to keep consumers interested in a changing supply landscape. The other is a lot more simple; just kill more turkeys.
I don’t mind too much. Not that I’ve ever seriously entertained the notion of hosting barnyard animals at social gatherings, but, if pressed as to which mammal I’d prefer to own should I ever come into possession of a working farm, I’d likely pick the gentle bovine over the gobbling Thanksgiving centerpiece. No offense to turkeys, but they’re just ugly to begin with.
They don’t taste that bad either, at least not in deli meat form. Given that fact, as well as their “healthy” reputation, we really should have seen Arby’s new Turkey Roasters coming sooner. No, not that kind of Roaster. More like this:
Arby’s Grand Turkey Club “Roaster” is one of three new turkey-centric sandwiches from the chain, pairing the usual suspects of Swiss cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise with thinly sliced oven roasted turkey.
According to Arby’s, it’s a sandwich so good, it actually “tastes like it’s more than a sandwich. We like to think of it as a savory, taste bud tingling masterpiece.”
It certainly passes the eye test, although the box language shows about as much humility as Terrell Owens in the prime of his career. The actual sandwich doesn’t exactly match up to the photo, but a heaping and hot (so hot, it’s even smokin’) portion of turkey shows up under a restrained glob of mayonnaise and thick, black-pepper bacon.
There’s more than enough fresh leaf lettuce and juicy red tomatoes to let you know there was some effort put into making the sandwich, while another layer of mayo anchors the the insides to the Harvest Wheat bun. Only problem? That would be the Swiss Cheese. As in, where the heck is it?
After some poking around I noticed a not-really-melted slice of (unfortunately) hole-less Swiss was under the shaved Turkey breast. It’s an interesting construct that allows some of the cheese to melt (eventually) but the portion seemed rather skimpy to me. All can be forgiven with taste, however, and at nearly the price of a $5 footlong, you can bet it ought to be.
The thing is, it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to like about the sandwich. The bacon and Swiss cheese both contribute a mild smoke flavor, with the former adding a peppery kick and subtle crunch, while the latter contributing a milky taste and bit of needed fat. I really like Arby’s bacon, which contains the perfect ratio of meaty crunch and chewy fat to be the end-all, be-all of what you want from a pig.
But the turkey, moist as it was, is singularly salty. How salty, exactly? Tough to say knowing we all perceive sodium differently, but I estimate it about halfway between raising your blood pressure and adding to the physical properties of the Dead Sea. I was hoping the Harvest Wheat roll would add a nice and wholesome sweet balance along with the tomatoes and lettuce, but they all seemed drowned out by the salty flavor. The mayo helps add a little tang to balance things out, but it too seems bland and just serves to tack on calories.
There are other missteps, as well. The roll has good flavor on its own, but it comes off as stale, while the subtle honey sweetness isn’t discernible when taking a complete bite. The toasting seems awkward in this application. While the cheese, unevenly melted, plays an odd and unwelcome second fiddle to the watery crunch of the lettuce.
Taking a look at Arby’s Grand Turkey Club Roaster is like taking a look at a masterpiece of taste but eating the watercolor portrait I painted of myself in second year high school art. Structurally, it’s more than sound, but it’s not going to make any one’s regular lunch rotation any more than that painting of smiling Adam will ever find its way out of my grandparents’ house. It’s just too salty and too bland to warrant the high price, failing to deliver a complete taste for what are individually tasty ingredients. Lacking that “X factor” so many of the best fast food sandwiches seem to have, it’s hardly the greatest thing since sliced beef, and no match for Arby’s much better Angus sandwiches.
(Nutrition Facts – 490 calories, 220 calories from fat, 24 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 1440 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams sugar, and 29 grams of protein.)
Item: Arby’s Grand Turkey Club Turkey Roaster
Purchased Price: $4.75
Size: 233 grams
Purchased at: Arby’s
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Better than Buddig quality roast turkey. Bacon is meaty, smoky, and black peppery. Swiss cheese and mild smoke flavor and milky richness. Harvest wheat bun has good flavor. Fresh vegetables. Getting your roaster fix on without burning out your eyeballs.
Cons: Salty and bland. Lacking an “X factor” of flavor. Bun was stale. Mayo just adds fat and calories. Unevenly melted Swiss cheese. Needs wider bacon coverage. A bit on the pricey side.