If you’ve been watching the Arby’s menu of late, you’ll have noticed fish has been top of their minds. While other brands have been leaning heavily into chicken sandwiches and nuggets – Arby’s have really crafted numerous seafood specials. This March saw the Arby’s Spicy Fish Sandwich for the Easter lent season. Before that the Beer Battered sandwich had us all swooning back in 2020. But wait, what’s this? A fish release in the middle of Summer? Consider this guy confused. Confused but eager to get to sampling mind you; especially with Arby’s touting a new “Hushpuppy” breading.
The new Fish Strips come in a 5 piece ($6.39) and 3 piece ($4.39) option and are described by Arby’s as “premium pollock strips battered in a crispy hushpuppy coating and fried to a golden brown. Served with a tartar dipping cup. Limited time offering at participating locations while supplies last.”
A 3 piece of the strips also come in the Cajun Fish Wrap ($6.39) as follows, “3 cajun seasoned hushpuppy-breaded fish strips topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, and a zesty Cajun remoulade spread on an artisan wrap.”
So let’s dig in, how do the new Fish Strips taste? Here’s some shots, then the tasting:
The headline news is that the new Arby’s Fish Strips are bland central station. I almost reached for the Covid test, such was the lack of flavor in the pollock. This may of course be a huge plus for the fish phobic. I mean, there’s a hint, a gentle suggestion of seafood flavor, but it’s exceptionally muted, dialed right down. The cornmeal based Hushpuppy coating meanwhile is good. It has a pleasant crisp texture, and no overt greasiness. It’s markedly different from other batters and breading for sure. There’s some mushiness between the fish/cornmeal layers too – reminiscent of frozen fish sticks. The less said the better about the accompanying tartar which is cloying with far too little zip and zest. A few dunks and I tossed it.
Much better though is the Cajun Fish Wrap, let’s take a look at that and dive in:
The use of the Cajun remoulade makes all the difference here. As you’d expect for fast food it’s modest at best in terms of fiery spice. It’s probably weaker than even tabasco and quickly dissipates with zero forehead sweat. It does however lend some excitement to the otherwise mild fish. Inside the whole wheat style wrap, the lettuce and tomato are good, but quickly get soggy if left too long; the same can be said for the Fish Strips Hushpuppy coating too. You’ll want to eat this one fast before the heat starts to turn things limp.
I’d skip the Fish Strips entirely personally, but the wrap is worth a look; especially if you’re in the market for something a little different in fast food world. It left me feeling plenty satiated and also not with the subsequent malaise that can follow a greasy fast food meal.
While we’re talking, here are a few more items to hit the Summer limited specials menu at Arby’s. The Orange Cream Shake ($3.19) and the White Cheddar Mac ‘N Cheese ($3.29):
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic Salt Lake City, and a former freelance restaurant critic. I’ve worked extensively with local, regional and national food and drink organizations. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have been writing about food and drink for more than fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. I don’t mind admitting to a certain secret obsession with fast food as well – and that’s where Menu And Price comes in…