Fast Food Review: Wendy's Premium Fish Fillet

It’s tough to find an issue that all Catholics can agree upon. Should John Kerry be allowed to take communion if he’s pro-choice? Should pedophile priests be thrown in jail, or sent to exile in Ireland with a pension? Are the Jews responsible for all the wars in the world?

(Before anyone starts complaining about anti-Catholic bigotry on my part, try growing up in Ireland, as I did. I’ve earned the right to mock. Besides, I also think Passion of the Christ is a good movie.)

However, there is at least one thing that ALL Catholics should give thanks to God for: the fast food industry has their best interests at heart.


Okay, maybe not BEST interests, but at least “appetite-for-junk-food” interests. To the non-faithful: did you ever wonder why the promotion of fish sandwiches always kicks into high gear around February? I know I did. Until a Catholic friend explained that it’s because of Lent, 40 days during which the Commies...uh, I mean Catholics, tend to stop eating red meat. I would swear that such a thing is un-American, except that I assume JFK observed the tradition to some degree, and that’s one guy whose patriotism you can’t impugn.

And so, as you may have noticed, Del Taco is bringing back the shrimp taco, lazy-ass Taco Bell is adding nothing new except a big sign that points out which of its regular menu items have no meat, and the burger joints are busting out the fried fish sandwiches. Of all these latter places, Wendy’s seems to be the most desperate to impress – theirs is not just a fish fillet, but a PREMIUM Fish Fillet.

Fun Fact: in England or Ireland, the word “fillet” is pronounced “fill-it” rather than “fill-lay.” Possibly because they think “fill-lay” sounds sexual. But more likely because they don’t realize it’s a French word.

Adding to the whole confusion is the spelling issue: McDonald’s spells it “filet.” But McDonald's invents its Own McPunctuation™, so who knows if they’re spelling stuff correctly.

Here’s how Wendy’s describes their Premium Fish Fillet: “Wendy’s uses premium hand-cut fish fillets of 100% cod that are caught fresh from the icy waters of the North Pacific. Then, to make things even tastier, each fillet is coated in a light, crispy Panko breading and served hot with creamy tartar sauce.”

Here’s how I describe it: salty and spongy. And overpriced.

To elaborate on the official product description: coated in breading? Really? Wow, that’s a novelty: BREADED FISH at a fast food joint. “Served hot”? Why mention that -- was serving it cold even considered?

And what the hell is Panko? A site called Wisegeek has the answer: “Panko is the Japanese word for “bread crumbs.” Panko are the Japanese version of bread crumbs, and they tend to be lighter, crispier, and crunchier than Western bread crumbs.”

Lighter, these are not. The piece of fish on my sandwich was dwarfed by the bun (Hey Wendy’s, I think I hear the ghost of Clara Peller: “Where’s the fish?”), and the fish itself was dominated by the, ahem, “Panko.” Wendy’s dense buns are good for burgers loaded with drippy toppings – if they were to bring back some kind of chili cheeseburger, I’d advocate them – but when you’re dealing with an already-breaded product, it’s a bit much. The fish was also a bit too salty for my tastes, though I tend to like less salt than most, but a hint of slight spiciness was welcome. Beyond that, they add lettuce, sauce, and – for forty more cents! – cheese.

To bottom-line this: Wendy’s Premium Fish Fillet, in my area, costs $3.19, or $3.59 with cheese. A local McDonald's is selling the Filet-O-Fish (which has cheese but no lettuce) for $2.89.

But then Jack-in-the-Box has a fish sandwich for...$1.49. Granted, Jack-in-the-Box’s version is kinda dopey: they just take two of their existing fish-and-chip pieces and throw ‘em on a bun. But honestly, when you compare all three, it’s by far the best value.

I’m fairly sure God would not want you to waste more money than necessary on bread and fish. After all, He gave it away for free back in the day.

More LYT Fast Food Reviews may be found at this link

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