Round 6: Hardee’s vs Arby’s

The tournament so far: Introduction | Local Qualifier | Regional Qualifier | Round 1 | Round 2 | Round 3 | Round 4 | Round 5

We’re so close. This was the conclusion to the semifinals, defining the matchup for the Last Supper. But first thing’s first!

Hardee’s Beer Battered Fish Supreme
Once again, Hardee’s impressed me with the wheat bun and big lettuce leaves. I said it before and I’ll say it again, this sandwich just looks and tastes homemade, and I say that as a good thing even for someone who prefers fast food sandwiches over homemade sandwiches.

There’s not much more to say that I didn’t say last time, other than the fact that the fillet was much better this time. Hardee’s had previously been in the “heavily fried to the point of hard crusty fillet” category, which I later concluded was responsible for tastiness but also post-lunch gutrotting sensations. This particular outing found that the fillet had a similarly hard exterior — which helped maintain fillet stability — without that “overly fried” effect. So somehow, Hardee’s managed to preserve the taste and structural benefits of the hard exterior without the negatives.

About 2/3 of the way through this sandwich, I was thinking “The structural integrity of this sandwich sure is holding up well,” recalling how the fillet slid out from between the bun halves last time I was there. Immediately, the fillet slid out from between the bun halves.

Structural integrity is important to me, but there are two main ways in which a sandwich can fall apart — one is to crumble in to several pieces, and the other is to have the fillet slide out. If I had to choose a way for my sandwich to disassemble, I’d choose the latter. So this problem, while somewhat annoying, could be worse. It’s pretty easy to put this thing back together.

Arby’s Fish Sandwich
When I got to Arby’s, I looked up at the menu. I don’t know why I did this. It’s not like I was going to go to Arby’s on Friday evening for my fish sandwich and then suddenly order a roast beef gyro or something. It must’ve just been instinct. But anyway, while I was looking up there, I couldn’t help but notice how many sandwiches Arby’s has. I counted 28 sandwiches on the menu. Twenty eight! And the best part was the fish sandwich wasn’t even up there. If you’re the type of person who needs approximately thirty options when you’re trying to decide what kind of fast food sandwich you want to eat, Arby’s is your place. Unless you want a burger.

My fish sandwich was very, very dry. It was a genuinely fishy fillet, but it was almost chewy. I was more than halfway done with the sandwich when suddenly I struck tartar. It was as if enough tartar sauce (or too much) for the whole sandwich was placed in a quarter-sized glob somewhere middlish. This was unpleasant. There’s also a sharpness to their tartar sauce that might be fine when spread out across an entire sandwich, but was almost wince-inducing in that kind of concentration.

The verdict
This was easy, and somewhat shamefully anticlimactic for a semifinal competition. Arby’s flopped bigtime — though to be fair, it probably wouldn’t have advanced in the first place had it not gone up against the Long John Silver’s crusty grease missile. Hardee’s continues to impress with their slight tweaks that turn the conventional into something special.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Last Supper finalists are Runza and Hardee’s.

One Response to Round 6: Hardee’s vs Arby’s

  1. theotherneill says:

    Knowing your love for MikeyD’s and BK, this is interesting. But after having the Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Fish Sandwich, this is shaping up to be a good final. Are you surprised?

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