Since some of my friends have been posting about Macdonalds here, here, here and here, I decided it was time to do the dirty and try the one thing that’s been standard on their menu for years that I have never tried: the Filet-O-Fish!
I got mine at the McDonalds near the Ikea in Richmond – they were not quite as friendly as the morning staff at the Commercial/Broadway station where I sometimes get my (leaky paper cup of) coffee in the mornings. Took my order to go so I could share my fries with the dog. First impressions when opening the box: Not bad. They did a nice job centering things in the sandwich (non meat-slide here), though the monochrome look of it all was uninspiring. Let’s see what this baby’s got under the hood:
Ew. So that’s the tartar sauce, and, given the precise size of the fish filet, it completely covers the slice of cheese that is apparently in here (I peeled the bottom bun off to check – yup, there it was – gluing the fish down, providing zero flavour to the sandwich). I think it was the thought of fish + cheese (+ McDonald’s) that made me shy away from trying this in the past (even though this has been a favourite of one of my best friends for ages – with pickles added, by the way).
I had read about the Hoki fish they use in these sandwiches in Bottomfeeder – a really excellent (if not depressing) book about the fish industry and how to make ethical choices – it is apparently an excellent choice and typically fishes sustainably.
Alright – let’s give it a try:
Well it wasn’t bad. The fish was “cooked” well, flaky and not dry, but the crust on the filet was thin and unseasoned. It also wasn’t crispy at all, really, which surprised me, because even the chicken sandwiches have some crunch to them. The tartar sauce was lacking in brightness – no lemon juice at all in this paste, just mayo and relish. I also like paprika in tartar sauce – which, of course, wasn’t present here. The bun was actually quite big and bready for the size of the fish – it was too big and because it wasn’t toasted, it didn’t provide any textural contrast at all. And that cheese I feared so much – as expected – non-existent flavour-wise.
Yup McD’s is not a quality food establishment, but given that this is item has been on the McMenu for 47 years (!) you’d think it would be iconic.
I would maybe have this again with some serious customization: no cheese (which would cut out at least 3 grams of fat – all of which are saturated), add on lettuce and maybe those pickles my friend thinks are key (to provide a bit of acid).
Until then – I would much prefer to enjoy a fish sandwich with tons of flavour in a truly unique setting.