Friday, May 9, 2008
TBG Reviews: The New Jalapeño Chicken Sandwich at Carl's Jr.
Back in the late '90s, our friends at Carl's Jr. successfully reinvented themselves from a family-friendly fast food restaurant to a place where men – and, only men, goddammit – go to get big, messy burgers.
I'm a man. I like fast food. And, after a weird phase of my life in the early/mid-90s when I gave up red meat (why, yes, a woman was involved) I was back on board the coronary express.
Carl's Jr. introduced the absolutely awesome Jalapeño Burger to their menu about two years ago. It was intended to be a limited time release, but it became one of the chain's biggest sellers and now maintains a deserved space on their permanent menu. Hard to believe it took this long for them to make the obvious, incremental leap to the only other meat-flavored sandwiches they sell.
They go with the grilled chicken breast here and top it with a small woman's fistful of sliced jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and something called Santa Fe sauce – along with the usual lettuce, tomatoes n' onions.
Overall…Aaron approves. The sandwich, of course, isn't anywhere near as spicy as the commercials might lead you to believe. (I mean, really, white people…are jalapeños too hot for you? Really?) It actually strikes a nice balance of flavors between the chicken and the mountain of toppings.
The sauce helps out the usually dry chicken breast, the peppers mesh well with the tomatoes and the pepper jack cheese vaguely reminds me of my favorite liquor store deli sandwiches. In fact, if Carl's is in the market for some free advice, I'd add a spoonful of guacamole just to California-ize it up a little.
The doughy buns remain their overly chewy Achilles heel, though. If you don't finish it fast enough, the whole thing morphs into Play-Doh™. This one probably won't cure cancer like the Jalapeño Burger will someday, but it's a damn fine kid sister that I would like to eat once a week.
Grade: 4 (out of 5)