Sometime during our rich cultural history, America forgot what “Parmesan Cheese” is.
Once a noble hard cheese, the name now conjures images of tall green plastic cans. Industrial cylinders full of white dust, kept in the fridge long past all flavor has faded away. It’s now closer to a condiment than a proper dairy product.
It’s a hit job on a fine piece of Italian cuisine, executed by decades of corporate cheese ownership. So imagine my surprise when Burger King gave this proud cheese a primary placement on its Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, which is an updated version of the one that came out in 2012.
It starts with a crispy chicken patty, topped shavings of real Parmesan cheese, a slice of gooey mozzarella, and enveloped by two layers of marinara sauce. It’s all put between a toasted potato roll, for a thick and decadent sandwich. The chicken is the same as BK’s recently revamped Crispy Chicken Sandwich – a juicy whole breast fillet that tastes fresher than one would expect. It isn’t quite Chick-fil-A quality, but it’s impressive for the price point.
The first bite was concerning, as the side of the sandwich was coated in marinara sauce. A heavily acidic taste overtook my mouth, reeking of undercooked tomato. Fortunately, the sauce was more evenly distributed in the remaining bites – having soaked into the bun. Each bite delivered a satisfying blend of the soft potato roll, salty cheeses, and hearty white meat chicken. It’s a very rich sandwich, with the two kinds of cheeses and sweet roll creating a buttery mouthfeel.
Since the chicken patty is the same as Burger King’s other premium chicken sandwich, it lacks the heavy Italian seasoning you’d expect from a more authentic chicken parm. But the King has crafted a workable version, largely thanks to a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. Forget the weak powder that stuffs the paper packets in pizza boxes; this is the real deal. The shavings are piled on thick, ensuring no bite goes without.
The Parmesan is under a layer of mozzarella, which is notably more processed. Resembling a white Kraft single, it doesn’t get a satisfying melt. As a result, it serves only a structural purpose – gluing down the pile of Parmesan. It’s a necessary element, and nothing more.
Overall, Burger King’s “new and improved” Chicken Parmesan Sandwich is a success. Building on their strong Crispy Chicken base, this is a delicious offering that stands above most fast food chicken.
(Nutrition Facts – 570 calories, 25 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 1340 milligrams of sodium, 57 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 32 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $6.99 (for meal with large drink and fries)
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Generous helping of real Parmesan. Delicious chicken patty. Soft, decadent potato roll.
Cons: Sauce is acidic and can be overwhelming in large doses. Mozzarella was under melted. Gross green can cheese.