Arby’s New Fire Roasted Philly Steak Looks and Tastes Just Okay

The Exception Magazine is on a quest to find the best fast food meal in America. We review and rank each meal on a 10 point scale, with each of the five criterion below eligible for up to 2 points.  

 

I have usually defended Arby’s. As fast food, roast beef on an onion bun was always pretty unique. Never dry, plenty of condiments – you have to give them some credit.

Recently, they introduced the Fire Roasted Philly Steak. It was time to see if they could deliver in a category besides roast beef.

There are at least three words wrong with that phrase. No one in Philly would be caught dead making this sandwich. And fire roasted? Mmm, not feelin’ it. All that being said…

Value: 0.7

The total meal cost $8.97 from an Arby’s in New Jersey. This included a medium fry and beverage.

The dead-eyed teenagers that served me short changed me on the fries. I should probably thank them. It’s been three hours and I can still feel them digesting.

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A medium at Arby’s is actually a pretty good deal. I got an unsweetened iced tea with lemon and it tasted good. Not over brewed, not gritty, just good iced tea. The actual sandwich looks a little tiny for a nine dollar deal. Especially since just about any local pizzeria can beat this price with a bigger cheese steak.

Experience: 1.2

The clerk was friendly enough. Ketchup was not offered or given. I had some questions about whether or not the normal meal came with small, medium or large fries and drink, but they went unanswered. I’m not sure she was listening. I was at the drive thru and they were quick, so that was good. At least I got napkins.

Aesthetic: 0.7

Sandwich in a box? No, Arby’s. Anything that comes in a torpedo roll must be wrapped. The box just cheapens it. I’m not mailing the sandwich through UPS – I’m going to eat it. The sandwich itself looked okay but again, small. Maybe the box helped push that perception.

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Curly fries look unnatural enough but when you package them in a white box, you’re just making it worse.

Again, the beverage was the stand out.

Taste: 1.4

If I split the vote 50% sandwich, 25% drink and 25% fries, that’s the score I get. Sandwich is a 0.9. The bread is a little too soft but edible. The meat was definitely tasty. Moist, a little salty and good. The peppers were just there. I thought “fire roasted” meant I was going to get a little spice but it had nothing for heat. The cheese, provolone I think, was good. Tasted like actual cheese. It wouldn’t past the muster on South Street in Philly but not bad.

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The curly fries are God-awful. What soulless corporate cook dreamed up these? They taste like someone spliced the DNA of a potato with Styrofoam and deep fried them. They fill you up but kind of just lay in your stomach. Why not get a potato cutter, Arby’s? Bags of potatoes are like a dollar. You ruin a perfectly good meat sandwich with the side order from Hell.

Quality: 1.2

Arby’s seems to be trying, at least, with the meat and bread. The packaging is clean and I didn’t have a giant bag of grease stain even after a 20 minute ride on my passenger seat. Their staff was mostly on point and quick. Ditch those fries and I might actually eat here. I would totally get a drink here.

Overall: 5.2

Arby’s has great beverages, pretty good sandwiches and fries that can, at best, be called “fry-like.” I will say this, I was full. So whatever chemical substance created in the Arby’s lab to simulate what I can only describe as “near potato” continues to fool my brain into thinking I had enough food. Still, I rushed home to eat a salad just to balance it out.