McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich hit New York City recently, and since it's designed to compete with the Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, right down to the two--and only two--sliced pickles, we thought we'd grab both and do a head-to-head comparison. The results, after the jump.
In the left-hand column, the original Southern chicken-filet sandwich, Chick-fil-A! (Procured by intern Emily from NYU's Joe Weinstein Center at a cost of $2.75)
In the right-hand column, the challenger, McDonald's Southern Style Chicken Sandwich! (Procured by yours truly from the McDonald's on Eighth Avenue and 26th Street at a cost of $3.19.)
What? No pickles on the Chick-fil-A (left)? Don't be silly. They're below the breast. Note the difference in butter coverage. The Chick-fil-A sandwich has an even coating of the stuff, along with some nice toastage.
You also start to see the difference in breast size. (Heh. It felt dirty typing that.) In all photos, I tried to maintain an even distance between camera and sandwich and a consistent composition. The difference you see above is not a result of lens or perspective trickery. Below are the naked breasts side by side in the same frame for comparison.
Pickle versus pickle. Another difference: Chick-fil-A does a crinkle-cut pickle, while McDonald's does a straight cut on its. Yeah. Earth-shaking, no?
And here's where you really get a feeling for the difference. Look how much the Chick-fil-A overhangs its bun, creating the illusion of a sandwich just busting at the seams.
Perhaps the overhang on the Chick-fil-A is due to the thinner nature of its profile. Looks like it may be pounded out a bit more than McD's.
How'd It Taste?
But, yeah: Most important is how it tastes, right? Honestly, this sandwich from McDonald's was a pretty accurate recreation of the Chick-fil-A sandwich, based, of course, on the specimens we got our hands on. I know some Chick-fil-A partisans will rip me a new one for saying that, especially based on the fact that we got our Chick-fil-A from a college dining hall food court in New Yawk City, but there was very little difference in flavor.
I thought the McDonald's version was a smidgen more salty and peppery, while the Chick-fil-A tasted more fried-chickeny yet more subtle at the same time. And, of course, it was more buttery because, well, it had more butter applied to its bun. The butter difference was very subtle, though, and I don't think I would have noticed it if not pitting these two sandwiches head to head.
Even the most serious of eaters in our midst, Ed Levine, had a hard time choosing one in a blind taste test. He ended up choosing on looks--picking the Chick-fil-A for its more ample breast; toasted, buttered bun; and darker brown coloring.
Verdict: If you don't have a Chick-fil-A near you (or are, like me, cruelly barred from one due to your non-student status), you're not going to do too bad by grabbing the Faux-fil-A from Mickey D's.