REVIEW: Arby’s Deep Fried Turkey Club Sandwich

Arby s Deep Fried Turkey Club 1

Among the many achievements in mankind’s endless appetite for culinary innovation, I tend to think one of the more fun developments has been the deep-fried turkey.

Granted, it’s not an Oreo that tastes like a bowl of Fruity Pebbles, but there’s a combination of country-boy-can survive and backyard science experiment that makes me want to pump my fists, scream “’MERICA!” and make sure I have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Thankfully, I can skip the last part of that equation now that Arby’s has released a line of deep-fried turkey sandwiches, including the Deep Fried Turkey Club.

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Let’s get this out of the way: The Deep Fried Turkey Club doesn’t inspire an initial reaction of mouth-watering gawking. Among the many meat mountains that Arby’s has given us in recent years, it looks comparatively average, with noticeably less stacked meat than Arby’s Grand Turkey Club.

But it tastes better than the Grand Turkey Club, and it all starts with the deep-fried turkey.

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It’s a bit of a clumsy comparison, but the difference is similar to that of Arby’s roast beef and Angus steak. Where Arby’s roast turkey is actually pretty good, it’s still deli meat when you get down to it. The fried turkey, though, is succulent, slightly sweet, and has a wonderful seasoned crust. If someone served this to me at Thanksgiving, I would probably disavow cranberry sauce and gravy. It’s that good on its own.

The rest of the sandwich is top-notch and surprisingly well-balanced despite salt bombs of cheddar and bacon. Less divisive than Arby’s brown sugar bacon, the black pepper bacon adds great crunch and smoke, while the melted cheddar adds a mild creaminess and richness.

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And, where the bun, mayo, and toppings could have ruined the classic club taste, all three elements are executed to near perfection, creating a crisp and clean flavor to cut all the meat and salt. My only complaint was the double dose of mayo on the top and bottom buns, which makes the sandwich a bit too soggy.

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Arby’s release of brisket and pork belly were game changers as far as the fast food universe was concerned. I wouldn’t quite put the fried turkey into that category, but that’s only because a turkey sandwich is always going to be (for better or worse) tied to Thanksgiving. Truth be told, this is a great sandwich, and by far the best turkey sandwich I’ve had from Arby’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 540 calories, 250 calories from fat, 28 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 1620 milligrams of sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 gram of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 34 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Exceptionally moist and flavorful turkey. Crispy bacon and melted cheddar cheese add quintessential supporting club flavors. Squishy, slightly sweet bun. Enjoying deep fried turkey without the hospital visit.
Cons: Double layer of mayo is excessive. Not the most filling sandwich you could get at Arby’s. Not being able to build your own Derrick

REVIEW: Arby’s Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich

Arby s Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich

On a confidence scale of 1-10, with 1 being the Browns winning the Super Bowl and 10 being the chances we get too many pumpkin spice-flavored products every fall, my confidence in Arby’s making a good chicken parmesan sandwich is about a 5.

On one hand, it’s Arby’s, which means A) It’s not Taco Bell, and B) The meat should be good. On the other hand, it’s Arby’s, which means the marinara is probably sitting in a box in the back and not simmering in a pot with fresh herbs and minced garlic while being stirred by someone’s nonna.

But then again, Arby’s new chicken parm sandwich is no ordinary one —- it’s a chicken parm sandwich with meat. Now I commend Arby’s for taking the Ron Swanson approach of eating several different animals in one bite with its Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich, but the pepperoni ruins this sandwich.

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It’s not the pepperoni’s fault, per se. I mean, we’re above Hormel quality here and under other conditions the pepperoni’s salty, unctuous flavor would be optimal. But it’s so loud and salty that it dominates each bite.

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This is an issue because the rest of the sandwich’s components fail to stand out. The buttermilk chicken is bland, tasting mostly of soggy breading and onion powder. I expected the marinara to pick it up, but even though the much-feared saccharine tomato taste wasn’t there, the sauce was flat and (again) too salty, lacking any memorable tomato flavor.

Even the bun, which Arby’s has paired so wonderfully with various brisket and brown sugar bacon sandwiches, is just sort of there, like the mindless carbs of a forgettable bread basket at a dying chain restaurant.

The one exception is the mozzarella, which is beautifully melted to that stretchable texture and has a nuanced flavor you’d expect from a panini. But here again the pepperoni dominates, canceling out what should be a premium ingredient.

I tend to give Arby’s the benefit of the doubt, and I’m a huge fan of the quality they’ve committed themselves to. But considering the run of successful brisket, brown sugar bacon, and pork belly sandwiches they’ve strung together, the Chicken Pepperoni Parm Sandwich is a letdown.

It feels weird typing this, but this may be one case where we have the meats might be we have too many meats for our own good.

(Nutrition Facts – 610 calories, 28 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1900 milligrams of sodium, 54 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 37 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $4.99
Size: N/A
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Not want for meat. Really good melting action on the mozzarella. Moist and plump chicken breast. Marinara wasn’t horrible for fast food. Great if you love pepperoni.
Cons: Forgettable chicken. Overpowering pepperoni. Marinara sauce lacks balance. Virtually impossible to eat and not spill sauce on yourself.

REVIEW: Arby’s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby s Cookie Butter Shake

Arby’s releases a brand new cookie butter shake the very same week Oreo debuts its cookie butter cookies? Hmmm, very interesting.

Was it a mere coincidence? Or something more nefarious, like the cookie butter gods strong-arming companies into spreading their flavor for world domination????!!!! Then again, the flavor has kind of been growing in popularity so maybe that’s just it too.

The drink has a vanilla base mixed in with a cookie butter syrup and it is topped off with whipped cream and Biscoff cookie crumbles. It is described by Arby’s to be indulgently sweet with cinnamon spice. Following the debut of the Oreos that I thought were fantastic this shake has a tough act to follow.

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It’s off to a good start with the toppings. Even though the whipped cream is your run of the mill type, it happens to be very creamy and goes great with the Biscoff cookie crumbles that shine on the first bite. Arby’s definitely didn’t cut corners with these as going with the well-known Biscoff brand was a great choice. They are crunchy, very buttery, and have a noticeable cinnamon spice flavor at the end. The texture pairs greatly with the soft and fluffy whipped cream. I just wish there were more!

After eating most of the topping, I was excited to dive into the rest of the shake to continue my cookie butter adventure. Unfortunately, though, it was a kind of a letdown. My shake was a bit thick so it was a struggle to get it up through the straw. When I was able to suck it up you can definitely taste the vanilla base but after that it varies a lot between each sip.

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I could occasionally pick up some cinnamon and spice, but very faintly. There was definitely a more overt buttery flavor and it was tasty, but a tad too sweet at times. It just needed a little bit more of the spice because all the other flavors related to cookie butter shined through.

For example, if a friend handed me this and said it was a brand new butterscotch milkshake, I would be like “yum!” Or if they said just kidding it’s in fact a new caramel shake I would be like “delicious!” Cookie butter just didn’t immediately come to mind when thinking about the flavor of the shake itself.

Don’t think for a second, though, that I didn’t enjoy the shake as I finished the entire thing. All 960 calories and, good heavens, 139 grams of sugar of it. Next time this is available I’ll probably get a small and use it to wash down the cookie butter cream that I am scraping off the Oreo cookies to really hedge my bets and get maximum flavor. Oh, and also to please those cookie butter gods who went to a lot of effort for these to come about.

(Nutrition Facts – Large – 960 calories, 30 grams of fat, 20 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 95 milligrams of cholesterol, 670 milligrams of sodium, 155 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 139 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: Large
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Legit cookie pieces. A pretty delicious milkshake overall. Cookie butter gods trying to take over the world.
Cons: Shake flavor that kinda tastes like cookie butter but also kinda tastes like it could be at least three other things. Playing second fiddle to Oreo cookies. Calories and sugar content that is better left unacknowledged.

REVIEW: Arby’s Pizza Slider

Arby s Pizza Slider

Simple is good. You don’t need to reinvent the proverbial wheel for a limited time product to work – you just have to switch up the core idea of a product and present it as aesthetically and gustatorily pleasing as possible.

Arby’s all-new Pizza Sliders are a great example of fast food minimalism. It’s not too ambitious, it’s not too gimmicky, and it doesn’t try to be anything bigger or better than it really is. It’s just a gloriously uncomplicated minor tweak to the chain’s tried-and-true Sliders formula and that makes for a great value-priced (read: dollar menu) offering.

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It’s basically a miniature version of your classic Italian sub sammich. There’s a big chunk of pepperoni, several meaty chunks of Genoa salami, a hearty smattering of melted provolone cheese and a dollop of roasted garlic marinara sauce wedged in between the “mini-buns,” which are actually much larger than you’d expect them to be (for comparative purposes, I’d say they’re about twice the size of the mini-burgers at White Castle and Krystal.)

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If you’re trying to stretch a dollar, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth here. Don’t let the “miniature” gimmick fool you, these things are remarkably dense and surprisingly filling. I ordered three of them and by the time I put down the third Slider I felt as if I had crammed down a full-sized meatball hoagie.

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But not all is well in Pizza Slider Town. The sandwich is also very salty, packing a walloping 930 milligrams of sodium. That’s about half the sodium content you’d find in something like Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s Baby Back Rib Thickburger, a competing LTO burger easily three times the slider’s girth. So if you tear into these things sans a beverage on the side, don’t say I didn’t try to warn you.

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It’s a minor point of contention, but I also thought the marinara sauce could’ve been better (and, believe it or not, it’s not the same stuff Arby’s uses for its mozzarella sticks.) The sauce here is less tangy and more watery, and could really benefit from a pulpier blend and just a wee bit more garlic or oregano. It’s no deal breaker, though – and since the burger is only a buck, I suppose I can let it slide (get it, because it’s called a Slider?)

Terrible puns aside, these things are just dandy. They’re yummy, satisfying and super-duper affordable — essentially, everything you want out of a seasonal fast food item. And as far as imitation pizzas go, these things beat the susceptor-coated sleeves off Hot Pockets’ wannabe pizza sandwiches in overall quality and price.

(Nutrition Facts – 300 calories, 150 calories from fat, 17 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 930 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: N/A
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: The sandwiches have a LOT of pepperoni and salami on them. The melted mozzarella is fairly flavorful. Despite their stature, they are astonishingly filling.
Cons: The marinara sauce is kinda’ weak. All that sodium will have you chugging Aquafina like your uvula is on fire. Having no idea which packet of sauce to ask for to accompany the sandwich.

REVIEW: Arby’s Traditional Greek Gyro

Arby s Traditional Greek Gyro

Thank heavens this isn’t a video review because I’m still not sure how to say gyro correctly.

It got me thinking that I hope one day this item is popular enough to be on the same playing field with something like fajitas, which I can currently call fa-jee-tas but it’s okay because everybody knows I’m saying it wrong on purpose to be funny.

For gyros?? Definitely can’t play that game. If Arby’s new Traditional Greek Gyro is any indicator for what’s in store, though, then our future is looking very lamprós (the Greek word for bright).

This gyro is certainly traditional as there are just the basic set of ingredients you would hope to find in one – the meat, tzatziki sauce, gyro seasoning, red onion, tomatoes, and shredded iceberg lettuce all nestled up in a warm flatbread.

The vegetables were okay and pretty much the type that you would find at most fast food joints. If I had to nitpick it would be wishing that the lettuce could have been a bit crunchier. The tzatziki sauce was abundant bringing the many dry components together but the taste didn’t really punch me in the face with flavor.

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The flatbread, well, it pains me to say this because I absolutely love fluffy bread, but in this instance it was just too darn fluffy. My first few bites were nothing but bread until I made it to the center where the insides were more plentiful and could counterbalance.

Arby’s though is all about the meat, right? I mean THEY HAVE THE MEATS don’t they? Living up to their tagline the gyro meat in this was really, really good even if the amount was a bit on the light side. The meat was speckled with herbs and spices and the flavor was seriously spot on. The pieces were even shaped as if they had just been sliced off of a vertical rotisserie! Even with the lackluster other components, the meat definitely made up for them, meaning that I really did enjoy this gyro.

I got two as you can see below in the purchased price and very quickly gobbled both up. I hope it returns in the future, maybe with some new variations. As long as the meat stays as flavorful I would definitely indulge again and hopefully by then I can butcher the pronunciation, but on purpose this time.

(Nutrition Facts – 710 calories, 390 calories from fat, 44 grams of fat,13 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 75 milligrams of cholesterol, 1360 milligrams of sodium, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.00 (2 for $6 deal)
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Both visually appealing and great tasting meat. Arby’s getting an A in the subject of Attention to Detail. Renewed hope for a future where gyros and fajitas can stand side by side in popularity.
Cons: Too Fluffy flatbread that can sometimes takes over. Shredded lettuce that continues to underwhelm in fast food.