A Fast Food Fish Fillet Showdown

You've got your Big Mac fans and your Whopper people and your Dave's Hot 'N Juicy lovers. But what about the rest of us — those who love a salty, fried, fat-saturated good time, but without beef entering the equation? Allow me to speak for the fast food fish fillet lovers out there.

As a child, I grew up with McDonald's as my go-to fast food choice. That might surprise you, coming from a New Yorker, but there it is. When I travelled with my family around Europe, I only wanted to eat under the Golden Arches. After my pediatrician said that a Quarter Pounder wasn't considered a healthy lunch, I took his words like scripture. And so, naturally, after I stopped eating red meat, I became a McDonald's fish fillet aficionado. Over the years, I developed my preferred sandwich balance — I added pickles and lettuce to my order — and have stuck to it ever since. I occasionally have patronized Burger King, and recognized how much more substantial their BK Big Fish is. But, out of loyalty, I always returned to McDonald's.

The recent news that Wendy's is surpassing Burger King as the second-highest grossing fast food franchise gave me pause. It took me off guard. I had never taken Wendy's seriously. I have never even been to the establishment. And when a friend told me that they have a fish fillet for Lent, a brilliant idea was sprung: a taste test, in which I eat a fish fillet meal at each of the three franchises during one lunch hour! Conveniently, these three restaurants spring up in clusters like acne on an ingrown hair — I knew of three within 300 paces of each other in Lower Manhattan.

What follows are the results of my fast food afternoon romp. Before we start, I should mention that none of these establishments serve their fish sandwiches with pickles, a national travesty, and so I always ordered them extra. (Only McDonald's charged me for it.) OK, now that that's been said, on with my survey: