The Easter season is coming to a close, and many fast food establishments will start to take their seasonal fish sandwiches off their menus. But you can always count on a few restaurants — McDonald’s in particular — to always have a fish option on their permanent menu. I’ve avoided giving a review of the Filet-o-Fish because it’s so… moot? Hasn’t everyone had one by now? The Filet-O-Fish is the industry standard fast food fish sandwich (it turned 50 last year) and I was at a loss as to how to produce an interesting review.
Working off an idea from Serious Eats San Diego correspondent and friend Erin Jackson, I decided to build a Franken-fish sandwich/burger mash-up. I first tried to assemble one myself after ordering one Big Mac and one Filet-O-Fish. That not only didn’t work but it left me with discarded beef patties, buns and weird condiment mixtures. Plus, it cost more than $8 for the two sandwiches. I could only take two bites before pushing it away. Darlene suggested we have McDonald’s build it for us behind the counter… but would they do it?
“Give me a Big Mac without the beef patties but replaced with fish patties. Instead of the special sauce, use tartar sauce. Got it?”
Well, they did it. The cashier seemed confident I could get a Big Mac with fish instead of beef, and tartar sauce instead of special sauce. The manager came over to key in the price changes and customize the order for the kitchen crew. And a couple minutes later, I had a monstrosity that would’ve made Carl’s Jr. blush.
I figured out what was removed, replaced and added to this sandwich, which I call the Big Filet-O-Fish. Here’s a graphic showing all the ingredients.
First thing worth mentioning: The Big Mac sesame seed bun was either too weak or too stale to hold this behemoth together and it crumbled throughout the eating process. Flavor-wise, it was like a supreme Filet-O-Fish. It tasted exactly like you’d expect — a jumbo Filet-o-Fish with Big Mac notes, or a Big Mac with fish and tartar sauce. Regardless, I liked the added lettuce and pickle. Two fish patties in one sandwich were pretty difficult to eat; if you can split this monster sandwich with someone, do so.
This sandwich clocked in at $7.77 (I was charged full price for the Big Mac, plus $1.20 per fish quadrangle). I think that’s bogus, considering the $4.79 Big Mac had lost all its meat. But whatever. Also, if you try this yourself, price-compare various McDonald’s first. There’s an $0.80 Big Mac price discrepancy between two local McDonald’s (this one was at the more expensive one).
I think the best solution to replicate this experience would be to ask for lettuce and pickles on your Filet-O-Fish. It probably won’t cost you a dime, and if you go on a Friday, the Filet-O-Fishes are $1.49.
Read other Friday Fast Food Fishtacular posts here.