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Best Fish Sandwich Challenge: How does Wendy's rank?

Wendy's Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich
Nice visual appeal, crispy fish protruding slightly from the bun

By Mike Thayer

Eating fish sandwiches on a daily basis for lunch and dinner...  You know I'm doing this Challenge in the name of 'Food Science' (cough), right?  I'm eating through the bad and average sandwiches so you don't have to...

In 2018 I reviewed the fish sandwiches from national fast food chains but I figured it's time for a fish sandwich update.  I'll be reviewing all those restaurants again, as there's been some changes, some 'new and improved' sandwiches as well as new offerings.  But for this 2022 review, along with the fast food joints I'll be including fast casual chains as well as the local restaurants, making it a "Who makes the best fish sandwich in Wichita?" Challenge!

Today's review is Wendy's and their Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich.

Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich under the lid look
One little leaf of lettuce? Really?

The Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich features Wild-Caught Alaskan Pollock fillet coated in panko breading topped with a slice of American cheese, lettuce, pickles, dressed with a creamy dill tartar sauce and served on a toasted premium bun. 

In the 2018 fish sandwich review, Wendy's used cod in their fish sandwich but the restaurant switched to pollock last year.    Why the switch?  Pollock, while similar to cod but more mild in flavor, is cheaper.  Wendy's is one of the last of the national chains to make the switch from cod to pollock as a cost cutting measure.  Sure, corporate feeds the public a line about using 'sustainable fisheries' in explaining the switch to pollock, trying to push an 'environmentally responsible' coporate image, but that's kind of a lie.  There are 'sustainable fisheries' for cod too.  The truth is cod is more expensive and Wendy's was thinking about their bottom line in making the switch.  

Crispy Fish Sandwich Sideview
One of the better fish sandwiches of the national chains

Corporate B.S. aside, Wendy's makes a decent fish sandwich.  The panko breading provides a really nice crunch, I got crispy in each bite.  The fry on the fish was solid, the square 'fillet' was moist and flaky on the inside, but it was a bit under seasoned and polluck needs help because it is a milder fish.  The one leaf of lettuce was lame and it's a ding the sandwich took back in 2018.  One thin lettuce leaf really doesn't do much, either put some lettuce on it or don't.  The slice of cheese actually wasn't all that noticeable, overpowered by the tartar sauce and pickles.  Bringing it all together was that toasted bun.  Just about any kind of sandwich becomes a better sandwich when the bun is nicely toasted. 

Side Note:  Wendy's fish sandwich finished 5th out of nine restaurants reviewed in 2018.  A typical sloppy fast food preparation made what Wendy's presented that day a mediocre sandwich.

Scoring 55 out of a possible 63 points and costing me $5.36 for just the sandwich, the Wendy's Crispy Panko Fish Sandwich earned 4 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars.  Despite the switch from cod to pollock, Wendy's has improved their offering with a better breading (heavier on the Panko) and better overall preparation down to a better toast on the bun.  What was a borderline, Plan B repeat buy recommendation back in 2018, is now a solid repeat buy if choosing to eat at a national chain fast food joint.

4 stars

The Wendy's visited on this occasion is located at 4821 S Broadway, Wichita, KS 67216.  The service was obligatory, but my fish was made to order, I had to pull forward in the drive through to wait for the fry to complete.

Fish Stories...  (see what I did there, the play on 'fish stories'...  c'mon)

Related, posted in 2018: Who has the best fast food fish sandwich? They are listed here from worst to first

Related: Sonic (Sonic was not reviewed in 2018)

Related: Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Related: Louisiana Famous Fried Chicken (Not reviewed in 2018)

Related: Fish and More (Not reviewed in 2018)

Related: Burger King

Related: Hardee's

Related: Arby's

Related: Krispy's (Not reviewed in 2018)

Related: McDonald's

Related: Long John Silver's

Related: Dairy Queen

Related: Slider Shak (Not reviewed in 2018)

$pend Wisely My Friends...

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It's too bad the fish sandwich isn't available all year, it's very good and some of us don't want beef. Your loosing business Arbys.

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