Photo: Erik R. Trinidad
The Claims: The Angus Three Cheese & Bacon sandwich contains USDA Choice Black Angus beef, slow-roasted with a rub of garlic and onions, sliced fresh in the store, and piled onto an Italian roll. The roast beef is draped with slices of Swiss cheese, and topped with shredded cheddar, a Parmesan peppercorn ranch sauce, and thick-cut, pepper-spiced bacon. (660 calories sans condiments)
The Price: $4.99.
The Verdict: Grade B. I should preface this review with the caveat that I didn't sample this new sandwich at an Arby's restaurant (they are sparse in New York City), but at New York's Institute of Culinary Education. Even though they had no involvement with the creation of Arby's new menu offerings, the acclaimed cooking school served as the venue for a PR event Arby's put on for food journalists to promote their four new Angus beef items. The Angus Three Cheese & Bacon sandwich headlined the event, since it's currently the only Angus beef sandwich available to the public.
Arby's is no stranger to roast beef sandwiches, so rather than introduce something completely new, they've decided to improve upon something they're already known for. Their new Angus roast beef sandwich is an upgrade from their usual signature fare -- although not a replacement, since the classic roast beef sandwich is still on the menu -- and it is in fact a solid sandwich. The beef is sliced and piled into a decent portion that delivers a good texture per bite, without being too sloppy. (It's definitely a step above their non-Angus beef, which is sometimes so soft that it feels squishy.) The three cheeses are a nice complement, however all three varieties here are creamy and salty, and meld into one single "cheese" flavor; you don't really taste characteristics of the individual cheeses. The bacon is decent; chewy with a slight crispness that goes well with the soft Italian roll.
What's missing from Arby's inaugural foray into Angus beef sandwiches is a contrasting flavor or texture to offset the sandwich's dominant saltiness. This could have been done by simply adding lettuce, tomato, and/or pickle, but for now, the best we can do is add a hint of tanginess via Horsey Sauce or Arby's Sauce -- but at least that's an option. I hope this sandwich becomes successful enough to green-light the three other Angus items in Arby's pipeline, all of which address this sandwich's lack of a contrasting element: the Ultimate Angus Wrap, a lighter tasting wrap with the Angus beef served cold; the Ultimate Angus Classic Deli Sub, a vinegary hoagie, with the beef also served cold; and the Ultimate Angus Gravy Dipper, an interpretation of a French Dip sandwich.
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