Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fast Food Review: McDonald's Fish McBites

When I hear about a new fast food promotion, I usually have one of three reactions. First are the products that sound like they might be really good. These are few and far between, but include any promotion from Del Taco involving fried shrimp, most boneless fried chicken offers from Church's, and used to include everything from Popeyes back when I went there. 

At the opposite end of the spectrum are the things that sound awful and of no interest to me: KFC's Double Down, all fast food desserts, and most variations of Burger King's sandwiches are good examples of this. 

The rest fall somewhere in the middle, items that cause me to say "Well, maybe I'll try that if I have a chance." And when I first heard of McDonald's Fish McBites a year or so ago (while it was being tried out in test markets), that's what I thought. I guess I would try them if they came to my area. (To be honest, they were much closer to the that-sounds-awful category than the must-try category.)

On Tuesday, I read Grub Grade's report that the Fish McBites would be released on February 12th - Fat Tuesday (or Mardi Gras, if you will). I often like to make fried seafood for dinner on Mardi Gras (as an homage to my visit to New Orleans for Mardi Gras when I was 21), and I had no plans to get these instead. I figured I would try them sometime in the middle of the month. 

But I was out for a walk yesterday and saw this sign in the window of McDonald's. A snack size for $2.29, and only 250 calories. Why not?

Not surprisingly, the fish version of the McBites are served in the same containers as the chicken variety.

There were about a dozen Fish McBites in the snack size. I have to admit they were better than I expected them to be - though that isn't saying much. The fish was flaky white Alaskan Pollock. (According to reports, McDonald's is the first national restaurant chain to carry fish that is certified "sustainable" by the Marine Stewardship Council, if you care about such things.)

The main thing I did not like about the bites was the breading. I felt there was too much of it and it was slightly overcooked. Imagine the most heavily-breaded fish stick you've ever eaten. Did you enjoy it? If so, you will probably like these. If not, these might not be for you.

I did not enjoy the tartar sauce, but this came as no surprise: my expectations for a room temperature container of soybean-oil-based tartar sauce are never high. If I were to ever get these again - and I don't have any plans to - I would try them with the sweet chili sauce instead.

Actually, I just thought of something: Popeyes is the only fast food chain I can think of that actually refrigerates their tartar sauce. And in my neighborhood, McDonald's and Popeyes are literally right next door to each other. If they're close in your neighborhood, too, see if you can get some Popeyes tartar sauce to try with the Fish McBites.

These were a decent snack. If you love fish sticks, you could probably eat a larger order of these than the snack size and be happy. But like I wrote, I won't be getting them again.

I used to get McDonald's three or four times per month back in Pasadena. I've now had it four times in the 10 months I've been in Brooklyn - I've only gone there to try new promotions; I've never once said "Hey, you know what I want for dinner? McDonald's." And the Fish McBites  aren't the item that is going to get me to become a regular again.  

Now, if they were to bring back McNuggets Shanghai...


Melissa Good Taste said...

I wish m local McDonalds had these! I am sure i would love them. I am the freak who orders Fish N chips at Carl's Jr. I get stares... lots of them.

Jessica said...

I was just looking for a review on these things a couple days ago!!! Thanks Justin!

Anonymous said...

Ok but what's the overall grub grade though??