Wendy’s recently released two new entrées, both of which make use of sliced-up poultry: the Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap and the Cobb Salad. In the process of adding these items to the menu, the chain quietly discontinued its Grilled Chicken Sandwich, the non-fried sibling to its more popular, more breaded offerings.
Giardiniera Oil Is Liquid Gold
That menu shakeup means that Wendy’s has enough faith in the Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap to replace its longtime sandwich. However, I visited my local Wendy’s and discovered that, between the new wrap and the new salad, only one of them is worth your money.
The Cobb is one of my favorite salads to eat as a full meal. This is a busy salad, one packed with hearty ingredients. All that produce, meat, and dairy is not only a delight to dig into, but it’s also filling.
G/O Media may get a commission
Breville Smart Oven
This smart oven uses a bunch of different algorithms to make sure whatever you’re cooking is cooked to perfection, it heats up faster, has ten different function, and is easy to use.
Wendy’s Cobb starts with a spring salad mix, which is then topped with grilled chicken, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese. There’s a packet of crispy fried onions on the side for additional crunch, along with a packet of ranch dressing.
For a fast food salad, Wendy’s Cobb is terrific. There’s a generous ratio of mix-ins to leafy greens, and each element provides enough variation in flavor and texture to keep your mouth from getting bored. Shoutout to Wendy’s bacon, which I’ve historically found to be great—in fact, Wendy’s prides itself on its bacon, as bacon is a huge seller that sets the chain apart in the fast food space. On the Cobb salad, it stays admirably crisp. Between that and the crispy onions (think French’s), the salad has a really satisfying crunch.
As a protein, the grilled chicken is fine; it doesn’t exactly taste like chicken pulled right off a charcoal grill, but of course it doesn’t. It should also be noted that the eggs have a funny, spongy sort of texture to them, but I’m nitpicking. I’m mostly just grateful that a major fast food chain decided to focus on a new salad for once, and it’s a good reminder that Wendy’s has a wider range of options on the menu than most places do (including baked potatoes and chili).
For reasons I can’t quite explain, I was optimistic about this Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap. Maybe it’s because I’m nostalgic for McDonald’s Snack Wraps, just like everyone else seems to be. The Wendy’s wrap even has roughly the same fillings as McDonald’s previous concoction, too, with diced grilled chicken, romaine lettuce, shredded cheddar, and ranch dressing.
As soon as I saw the size of the Wendy’s wrap, however, I knew something was off. The Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap I received was woefully small and underfilled, especially for the $6.19 price. It didn’t feel like a proper value swap for the former Grilled Chicken Sandwich, mostly because of the wan amount of fillings compared to the size of the tortilla.
This thing was floppy as all hell, and would only stay together if I clamped my fist around it. Chunks of chicken fell out unceremoniously as I ate; I managed to take down half of it before giving up on the rest as it fully collapsed. It’s worth noting that I ordered this wrap on the second day of its release, so maybe there’s a learning curve to its assembly that employees haven’t yet had time to achieve (which is 100% understandable).
But if this is the product that can be expected when you order a Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap, I can’t recommend it with good conscience. It’s paltry, it’s overpriced for what you receive, and it’s functionally difficult to eat. Even if this thing had been bulked up with more lettuce alone, it would have felt a lot more satisfying.
You can’t win ’em all, I guess, not even when your enthusiasm is fueled with the wistful memories of a McDonald’s Snack Wrap. That could also be the problem: Sometimes resurrected menu items don’t stoke the same feelings you had for them back in the day.
But let’s focus on the positive, shall we? I can tell you for certain that the Cobb Salad is not to be dismissed, especially if you’re looking for something a little less greasy than the typical fast food fare. There’s no shame in ordering a salad at a fast food restaurant, and Wendy’s has created a compelling reason to opt for one.