If you’re a fan of KFC’s Famous Bowls, get ready to be bowled over (heh) by the chicken chain’s newest offering, the similarly-themed-but-even-more-tater-filled Smash’d Potato Bowl. I get the line of thinking: fried chicken is often eaten with sides, which are often potato-based, and said potato-based sides often come with toppings, so why not give customers a meal that “smashes” all of these favorites together in one forkful (or, in the case of the utensil my local KFC provided, sporkful)?
This bowl begins with a base of mashed potatoes, which are then covered in a layer of fries, doused with cheese sauce, and then sprinkled with bacon bits. (The press release says there’s a three-cheese blend thrown in as well, but my meal gave no indication of that, so it was either really well-hidden or just not important enough to be remembered). You’ll notice that I didn’t actually mention chicken because it’s optional. If you opt for it, it comes in the form of five nuggets. Vegetarians, though they may not be KFC’s target audience, rejoice! … Oh, wait, there is still bacon even in the nugget-less variant, so vegetarians, stop rejoicing! Anyway, KFC’s nuggets are too “finger lickin’ good” for me to resist, so of course I had to add them.
All of these ingredients sound pretty promising, but unfortunately, throwing them together didn’t really wow me. In fact, what the haphazard mishmash made me think of more than anything was a school cafeteria lunch. The mashed potatoes were silky, pleasantly avoiding the grittiness and graininess that can sometimes creep in, but they had an odd aftertaste that made me want to focus on the other ingredients as much as possible. The fries were more delicious than I’d thought they’d be, crispy and savory on the outside but surprisingly and appealingly soft on the inside, but something about eating fries and mashed potatoes together did feel a bit ridiculous, even for an admittedly whimsical eater like me.
The thin, slightly tangy cheese sauce, to be frank, was gas-station quality. And while the bacon bits actually did impress me with how chewy and not-stringy they were, they were so concentrated in the center that the excess kept falling from my spork and getting lodged in the nooks and crannies of the bowl, so while they appeared pretty plentiful, most of them didn’t make it to my mouth. It didn’t shock me that KFC’s famous chicken, so juicy and zesty, was my favorite part by far, but it’s sad to think that the best bit of this is the one that’s optional.
KFC’s Smash’d Potato Bowl does deliver on the starch-stuffed combo it promises, but your mileage may vary: the more noticeable thing it delivered for me was a hankering for a plain old order of chicken and fries — hold the elusive bacon, synthetic-tasting mash, and underwhelming cheese, please.
Purchased Price: $7.61
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 760 calories. Other nutritional information was unavailable at the time of review.