On Tuesday, Burger King launched a new crinkle-cut french fry that has about 20 percent fewer calories than the chain's regular fries. These "Satisfries," which have 270 calories for a small serving size compared to the 340 calories in the same serving of regular fries, use a new batter that doesn't absorb as much oil.
But is a 70-calorie "savings" worth it? The new crinkle-cut version, which are significantly thicker than the regular, have a creamier and much more profound potato taste. Three of our 10 tasters preferred it to the original. The outer coating was noticeably thinner than the regular ones. But the original fries tasted well, more fried, and a bit saltier.
All tasters agreed that when you decide to eat french fries in the first place, you aren't that concerned about the calories. You're probably going to smother these fries in ketchup anyway, right? At that point, the taste difference becomes subtle at best. If you really want solid fast food french fries, everyone still craved McDonald's fries over Burger King's.
The regular fries are actually fairly new in their own right. Burger King revamped its french fries less than two years ago to create a thicker and less salty version. When we tasted the then-new version alongside both McDonald's and Wendy's regular fries, Wendy's was the obvious loser. Burger King took second to McDonald's by a very small margin.
If the crinkle-cut fries aren't enough to draw more patrons to Burger King stores, perhaps the other new french fry item -- a burger with four french fries on top of the patty -- will. Then again, even Burger King seems to understand how silly that idea is. In the product advertisement, a young girl claims that Burger King "stole" her idea. Because yes, pretty much anyone can think to put some french fries on a burger.
As Burger King embraces the crinkle-cut fry, Shake Shack is slowly distancing itself from it. The growing burger chain recently introduced "fresh cut" fries to one location in Manhattan, with more likely on the way.
Maybe if Burger King really wants to innovate, it should debut curly fries. Now that sounds satisfrying.
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LAST PLACE: Cheesecake Factory, 2
"Dry, flavorless, coated in weird batter." "Nothing to write home about." "Good thickness but boring." "Edible but not satisfying."
7th Place: TGI Friday's, 2.1
"Floppy and wan." "Soggy, no flavor." "Soft but well-seasoned." "Sad."
6th Place: Ruby Tuesday's, 2.75
"Thin, unremarkable." "These taste like they were dipped in batter. Weird." "Nice, thin and crispy." "Very bland and mushy."
5th Place: Red Lobster, 2.83
"Hot and crispy." "Too thin, not fluffy enough." "So subpar. No crisp, no flavor, just salt." "Highly average."
4th Place: Planet Hollywood, 3.14
"Love the crunchy batter." "Savory, addicting." "Crunchy on the outside but lacking fluffiness inside." "Great batter." "Not a fan of battered/coated approach. Crispiness the only redeeming quality. Not a fry I want to eat." "Dry, crusty."
3rd Place: Applebee's, 3.86
"Totally passable. Distinctive onion-y seasoning." "Almost beefy flavor. Could not stop eating. Crave-worthy." "Not notable but totally edible." "Crispy and moist, insides like mashed potatoes." "A little rubbery and lacking salt."
2nd Place: Hard Rock Cafe, 4
"Perfect salt and thickness. Umami taste." "Excellent and crisp." "Thick, crunchy exterior, soft interior." "Totally solid with a little seasoning."
WINNER: Chili's, 4.8
"Tasty even without ketchup." "Love the salty seasoning! "Big, creamy and crisp fries. Just what you're looking for in a fry." "Thick but not too thick."