When I think Louisiana, I think Hurricane Katrina, “True Blood” on HBO each Sunday, and Popeyes (its proper name is “Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen,” but who really calls it that?). Yesterday I pulled into the drive-thru and skimmed over their menu. Although I couldn’t find it, I knew they had a catfish sandwich, so I ordered one. The guy who took my order asked if I wanted the combo, and I said no — just the sandwich, please. He read me back my order and the total. Clearly he misheard me, as the total must’ve been for a combo. I said, “JUST the sandwich, please. No combo.” He said, “Yes. Sandwich only. $5.43 at the second window, please.”
$5.43 for a catfish deluxe sandwich??
That’s a “catfish” sandwich, right? Not “arctic char?” Not “Australian barramundi?” Not “insert name of endangered fish species here?” Catfish. So what makes this a “deluxe” sandwich? For the price, I wondered if it was stuffed with the roe of a beluga sturgeon. I guess “deluxe” means “shoe-sized,” because this sandwich needed two hands to operate.
The sandwich itself was as follows: Two cajun-seasoned breaded filets in a catcher’s mitt of bread, with chopped lettuce, a couple spicy pickle slices and some tartar sauce. I’d thought there were come pepperocinis in there but the heat I experienced was actually from the pickles.
Before I finished the sandwich, I took a big bite of the catfish sans accompaniments. The fish itself was a little hardier than the cod of other fast-food establishments, and the cajun seasoning was relatively mild, which my tender tummy appreciated.
I wondered how many calories and fat grams I was taking in (I usually don’t, but I’ve been logging that info for previous fish sandwiches). I pored over their official website but didn’t find the sandwich anywhere. In fact, they don’t mention catfish anywhere whatsoever. Come to think of it, I didn’t see it on the drive-up menu. MAYBE THE GUY AT POPEYES MADE IT UP (and its price) ON THE FLY!
How does it stack up against the other fish sandwiches out there? Well, it’s pretty huge… but it’s also it’s the most expensive. For the same satisfaction, I’d do a Carl’s Jr. and save a buck. And Wendy’s still has the most distinctive flavor. In this competitive market, Popeyes would do well with knocking the price down 15-20%, and maybe adding it to their “official” menus.