Fast Food

Would you like fries (or onion rings or chicken tenders) with that?

Wendy's Spicy Asiago Ranch Chicken Club: Long Name, Small Changes

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[Photos: Carey Jones]

New fast food products seem to appear at an astonishing rate these days, but some changes are bigger than others. Like last week's Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus Burger at McDonald's, Wendy's Asiago Ranch Chicken Sandwich is a spin on existing menu items. Because I'm such a fan of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, I was excited about the new Asiago—which comes in Grilled, Homestyle, and Spicy Varieties.

The ad campaigns bill the Asiago Ranch series as "all-white meat chicken fillets topped with thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, natural-aged Asiago cheese, creamy ranch sauce, hand-leafed lettuce, and hand-chopped tomatoes." Sauce and cheese are the only new features.

The Homestyle (pictured at top) is a regular, fried fillet with all the toppings. The chewy bacon didn't add much to the sandwich, the ranch sauce tasted like anything you'd squirt from a bottle, and I couldn't really discern anything different about the Asiago cheese; any aged flavor was lost in the fried chicken and sauce.

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The Grilled Chicken tasted identical, though Wendy's grilled chicken is nowhere near as good as their fried.

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The Spicy Asiago Ranch Sandwich, on the other hand, worried me. I feared the addition of the toppings might detract from my old favorite. But I felt the dressing added a little to the experience, cooling it down a bit, as ranch does for Buffalo wings. Again, the toppings are nothing memorable (I'm still impressed by McDonald's bacon on the Chipotle BBQ Bacon Angus), but the Spicy Asiago remains an acceptable twist on the original favorite.

My original worry with these sandwiches was the risk of ruining them. Though the Asiago and Ranch toppings don't add much, they don't detract from any of the sandwiches, either. Sometimes you want a plain chicken sandwich, sometimes you want just a pickle (thanks, Chick-fil-a), and sometimes you want a little more. Don't all rush out to try it, but know that Wendy's has created a perfectly decent Chicken Sandwich 2.0.

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