Sunday, May 25, 2014

Arby's Fast Food Review II

Smokehouse Brisket

The more things change, the more they stay the same. You could argue that's true of almost all fast food chains in America... with the exception of Arby's. The unofficial king of slow-roasted roast beef remains burger-free, relying on amazing Curly Fries and tasty sandwiches to do its talking. Recently they added a Smokehouse Brisket sandwich to their all-star lineup... tender brisket, smoked with real smoke from real fire (for at least 13 hours) with Gouda cheese, mayo, tangy barbecue sauce and fried onions. Sounds good, doesn't it? It is.

Good doesn't always come cheap ($5.29 sandwich only) but I can only hope that the Smokehouse Brisket finds its way to the permanent menu. It has a similar texture to Arby's roast beef; so it seems like a natural fit, and it's almost as tasty. I ordered mine without cheese and mayo, resulting in a slightly dry finished product (yes, there's barbecue sauce, but not enough... no fault of Arby's.) Lucky for me, one dash of Arby's signature sauce added just enough moisture, saltiness and spice to bring it back to life. I love Arby's soft buns, and the fried onions provided both bite and crunch. Overall, one of the best fast-food sandwiches I've had in a long time. Bravo.

Steakhouse Onion Rings

Also new to the menu, Arby's Steakhouse Onion Rings, a literal steal of a deal at $1.99 for a five-pack. This is no ordinary five-pack either... Four of the five rings were huge (they easily fill a large french fry holster.) My rings were crispy and well-cooked, with lots of onion inside. If they stay at this price... they could start eating into the Curly Fries market (more fries for me!) I also redeemed an Anniversary coupon for a FREE Classic Roast Beef sandwich with the purchase of a small, medium or large soda. No questions asked on the coupon (a welcome change) - In fact, the cashier actually said, "Happy Anniversary Mr. Freeman," when I left. Great customer service... something I thought was missing from my last few visits to this particular Arby's.

In fact, the service was so good... it bears further note. Not only was my cashier wonderful (he enthusiastically greeted each customer that came in; and cleaned tables during down time) but his fellow associate was as well. She remembered one customer by name, even though it had "been a while." Turns out he lost a bunch of weight, and was able to resume ordering his sandwiches with bread. Talk about taking a vested interest in your customers. I've been critical of service here in the past; and unfortunately saw a reminder of such... one employee was taking a break (the full duration of my dining experience) stretched out at a front table on the far side of the restaurant. It just looked bad; and I certainly didn't want to sit next to him and eat my food. It stood out even moreso, given how wonderful everyone/thing else was.

Arby's continues to shine, showing marketable improvement in customer service (one employee notwithstanding) and fine additions to an already impressive menu. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.