I’ve been doing Friday fast-food fishtacular reviews for a few years now, trying my best to give an honest opinion about various fish sandwiches from ubiquitous fast-food franchises. All the while, I’ve avoided The Big Two: McDonald’s and Burger King. My reasoning was that their fish sandwiches are year-round menu staples (opposed to some other chains which offer them seasonally around this time of year). Also, probably everyone has had a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish by now (they’ve been around for a half-century) and, well, I don’t really have a good reason for avoiding Burger King’s BK Big Fish except that I remember (and prefer) The Whaler. Well, McDonald’s went ahead and debuted a new fish product — the Fish McBites.
Not a “fish sandwich” at all, Fish McBites are more like Chicken McNuggets. They come in three sizes and come with tartar sauce pack(s).
The first thing I notice is the carton itself — the lid opens like double doors, and one door doubles as a sauce holder. Ingenious! Since I haven’t had Chicken McNuggets since the days of styrofoam containers, I don’t know if all sauce-friendly foods from McDonald’s do this… but I thought it was handy. In fact, if you’re wondering what to do with the sauce-pack foil lid, just stick it on the other door.
The fish itself is pretty good. The Alaskan pollock is somehow portioned into nickel-sized spheres and covered in a seasoned breading that’s different from the Filet-O-Fish. Darlene and I each tried a Snack-size Fish McBites (10 fish balls, $2.29) from two different McDonald’s and she described her experience as having an oily aftertaste. I thought mine were fine, if boring. Should they be paired with a sandwich, salad, soda or shake? I don’t know. But it was refreshing to eat fish from McDonald’s without a tarp of oddly melted American cheese draped over it. Ten McBites didn’t conquer my hunger, so I guess it truly was a “snack.”
A few days later I tried the Regular portion (15 fish balls, $3.39) from another McDonald’s. My experience was identical to the Snack except it came with two tartar sauce packs. I recommend this route, as you get a better ball-to-sauce ratio than the Snack size.
In all, I can’t really find any problem with the food. They tasted fine and the calorie count was not bad (250 calories for the snack size, 370 for regular). I have yet to order the $5.59 “Shareable” size, but judging by its calorie count of 740, I assume it’s 30 fish balls and would come with four tartar sauces. Total fat on a Regular order is 20g and sodium is 630mg, which weighs in a tiny bit more than a Filet-O-Fish, though the McBites’ calorie count is less.
An afterthought — I would recommend using a fork because it’s pretty easy to get your fingers sauced up during the dipping (plus, one order came to me piping hot from the fryer).
Ba-da-bop-bap-baaa… I’m almost lovin’ it. McBites are available in San Diego; check your local McDonald’s for availability.
Read other Friday Fast Food Fishtacular posts here.