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Double Down down the hatch

KFC's breadless chicken sandwich debuts: Reviewers are underwhelmed but the paper sleeve it comes in gets a rave review.

By Karen Datko Apr 12, 2010 5:06PM

The Double Down -- KFC’s version of “think outside the bun” -- made its nationwide debut today with much fanfare and uproar -- so much sodium and fat!


So, how did it go?

You’ve heard the buzz: For $4.99 or thereabouts, depending on where you live, the Double Down is two fried chicken fillets with two bacon slices, two slices of cheese and a mayonnaisey Colonel’s Sauce in between. No bread. It’s 540 calories (same as a Big Mac), according to KFC (460 for the grilled chicken version), but about half the daily allowance of saturated fat, and nearly an entire daily allowance of sodium. The grilled version has even more salt.


New York Times food critic Sam Sifton, posting at the Diner’s Journal blog, was far from impressed, actually somewhat repulsed: “The chicken is watery within its soft casing of 'crust,' the cheese familiar to anyone who has eaten food prepared by the United States government, the bacon chemical in its smokiness, the mayonnaise sauce tangy, salty and sweet, all at once. . . . It is, in all, a disgusting meal, a must-to-avoid.”


Near Cleveland, Beau Cadiyo tweeted his experience for The Cleveland Sandwich Board blog: Some of his tweets:

  • “First bite: salty. Moist. Salty.”
  • “Second bite amazingly salty. Breading falling off of one piece of chicken from the grease. It's soaked through the wax paper.”

Cadiyo did predict that the wax-paper sleeve “will be the most important advance in Sandwich Science™ this year.”


From Arthur Bovino at Always Hungry: The two bacon slices and other fillings were dwarfed by the fowl. “Each fried chicken breast (crisp on the edges, a softer fry elsewhere), is almost ¾ of an inch thick. That’s a lot of chicken -- the bacon and cheese kind of get lost."


Another common comment addressed the difficulty of eating this thing: “The sandwich slides apart because of the cheese and sauce in the middle. Maybe KFC should have thrown a spork in the bag,” Olivia Hubert-Allen suggested at after her taste test.


At the Village Voice’s Fork in the Road blog, the Double Down earned two of out five possible blechs.


Something about this sandwich doesn’t sit quite right, and we’re not referring to post-consumption. (I made lunch at home before I remembered that the breadless KFC creation became available today. Plus I avoid eating stuff like that.)

Here's the thing: Restaurants have been promoting healthier fare -- a trend that’s likely to grow once chains are required by newly passed health care reform to post calorie counts


KFC has been trumpeting its new grilled chicken -- fewer calories and less fat than the old standby. “But the Double Down seems to fly in the face of that,” says an article at QSR Web. (QSR stands for quick-service restaurant.)


What's your take? Is this a value meal, in that you're getting what you pay for? Have you tried it? If so, what do you think?


Related reading:

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