Like everybody else, one of my New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight (My goal? Drop 20 pounds by March.) Of course, being a professional fast food reviewer, I suppose that means I’m going to have to do double the number of crunches to hit pay dirt.
Thankfully, however, Arby’s is doing its part to provide customers somewhat healthier menu options as 2018 begins, as evident by its recently launched Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich.
Similar in nature to KFC’s Nashville Hot Chicken, Arby’s variation (it’s Alaskan Pollock, in case you were curious) comes speckled with a hearty coating of what tastes like crushed up cayenne pepper. Alas, since the official Arby’s website lists the secret spices simply as “Nashville Hot Seasoning,” who knows what’s really going into the breading process. The quasi-Creole flavor seems to suggest there’s some paprika and garlic in there, too, but again that’s just conjecture on my part.
The fish patty is surprisingly big – so big, in fact, that half of it juts from the sides of the bun like spicy bicycle handles. In terms of overall tongue tingle, it’s at least a five out of ten; hot enough to maybe take an extra swig of soda, but not warm enough to force you to rub a napkin all over your tastebuds to soothe the pain. The fish itself is quite crispy on the outside and pretty juicy on the inside. On the whole, I’d consider it one of the better big name fast food fish patties out there – it’s at least as good as the top tier Gorton’s fillets at your local grocer.
As for the rest of the fixins’, we’ve got a clump of iceberg lettuce, a very nice parmesan peppercorn ranch mayonnaise and not one, but four pickle slices to round out the sandwich. All in all it’s a pretty good combination, although the product would have benefited from a slice of tomato and some kind of cheese (which, interestingly enough, pretty much is the M.O. of Arby’s other ongoing “Hot Fish” offering, the King’s Hawaiian Nashville Hot Fish Deluxe.)
On the plus side, though, the sandwich – as is – is very flavorful and quite filling. Packing less than 600 calories, you’d have to wander far and near before you found a fast food sandwich this appetite-satiating with fewer cals. And, as always, you’re guaranteed lots of fun mixing and matching Arby’s proprietary sauces to see which packet compliments the fish burger best (a weird one, I know, but I thought the Horsey Sauce paired astonishingly well with the newfangled L-T-O sammich.)
The Nashville Hot Fish Sandwich isn’t exactly a bold new sojourn for Arby’s (nor well-traveled fast food aficionados, for that matter) but what it lacks in originality it mostly makes up for in simple, no frills deliciousness. Despite the name, it won’t set the fast food world on fire, but for less than $4, it’s a worthwhile purchase.
(Nutrition Facts – 540 calories, 210 calories from fat, 23 grams of total fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 1000 milligrams of sodium, 63 grams of total carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, 21 grams of protein.)
Purchased Price: $3.49
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: It’s a (relatively) calories-light alternative for burger junkies. The fish is both satisfactorily crunchy and chewy. The parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce is downright fantastic.
Cons: It’s not really that spicy. The lack of cheese and tomato is disappointing. Having to wait until Thanksgiving for the inevitable Nashville Hot Turkey sequel.