Episode 3 of AVFTDT podcast featured a segment on the debuting of Wendy’s new Fresh Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich (Also available as a salad). Episode 4 has me giving a review. The sandwich features fresh mozzarella cheese, balsamic diced tomatoes, fresh spring mix, creamy basil pesto, and a grilled chicken filet on a toasted garlic brioche bun.
First bite into the sandwich and I am pleasantly surprised by the vast array of flavors bursting through. A Sweet basil pesto favor permeates the sandwich, while an acidic balsamic rounds out the flavor. The greens are fresh, not standard, iceberg lettuce or even… gasp… shredded lettuce! These are salad greens, spinach, arugula, baby beet greens, the list could go on. And honestly, it fit the “high quality” style of this sandwich. The chicken was moist, tender and flavorful. It was a bit overshadowed by some of the other flavors, but was a solid base to the sandwich and I commend Wendy’s for that continued fresh, never frozen, feel.
The Mozzarella… oh boy the mozzarella… (Said with pinched fingers and an Italian accent.) I was worried about this. I was terrified by what fast food could do to “fresh” mozzarella. But to my great relief, this was actually real mozzarella cheese. It had the right consistency and subtle flavor that I’ve come to know. I made sure to separate a small piece for inspection.
The Diced Tomatoes were a wild card here. If you listened to episode 3, you’d have heard our concerns about diced tomatoes on a sandwich; that they might fall out and make a mess of things. And surprisingly, our concerns were relatively unfounded. Only one diced tomato fell out even after opening up the bun to take pictures. Why, you might ask? I’ll tell you. Because they’re hardly diced tomatoes. Instead I discovered a vaguely salsa-esque tomato gelatin. Whatever they did to turn these tomatoes balsamic, made them into a very strange and uncomfortable sauce like substance, a conglomerate which did, technically, contain diced tomatoes, but was nowhere near as photogenic as the marketing pictures.
The last thing to note was the basil pesto. As I said, the main flavor in the sandwich is basil which was new, interesting and very enjoyable. But this pesto was unlike any I had seen before. It was white and creamy almost like a basil sauce. If I had to guess, I would say that it was cut with mayo. This makes sense in a fast food sandwich because pesto is expensive and has a powerful flavor. So a more subtle flavor might be monetarily beneficial and a bit less obtrusive to the standard fast food patron’s palate.
Overall, this was a very good meal. The flavors were unique and interesting, and if you don’t open the bun, you wouldn’t notice how gross the tomatoes looked. The only reason I won’t be getting another is the price. At over $8 for a meal, it’s a little pricey to be a “go –to” staple, not to mention it’s limited time. That said, I recommend a try; because what you’re getting for that money is a premium sandwich and an interesting flavor experience that I can bet you’ve never had at a fast food restaurant before.
By: Tony Prete
Co-Editor of AVFTDT Podcast