Food & Drink

Fast Food Review: Quizno’s Chicken Milano


Quizno’s, I think most people agree, is more awesome than Subway. But I’m not sure most people consciously understand why. Yes, the toasting of bread is great, and it’s even better that Subway countered by offering it too, though what they call “toasting” still leaves a lot to be desired.

chicken milano.jpg

The real reason is that Subway still values its reputation as the healthy chain that made Jared thin. Whereas Quizno’s throws bacon and extra prime rib on everything, then offers you a honey-mustard PUMP at the “pepper bar” to smother all of that in more fat and sugar. Their slogan ought to be, “Sandwiches don’t have to be pussy healthy crap.” Unless they still value those who are drawn in delusionally thinking there’s less fat and carbs here than in a Big Mac; based on the info both chains provide, a regular Chicken Milano on wheat is about even with Mickey D’s signature sandwich. Tastier, though. And it certainly shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the “under 500” calories mentioned are in the small size, which nobody orders because it really is too damn small. (The one in the picture is certainly NOT a small as my local branch measures a small.)

My regular-size wholewheat roll glistens translucently with the two types of pesto spread on the Chicken Milano, which ought to be one of the healthier things on this menu, having neither bacon nor prime rib atop it. The fresh mozzarella genuinely feels fresh, soft rather than chewy, and with parmesan slices added as well, you can’t exactly call this a low-fat item. But you can say it tastes better than the ‘Way, which nobody refers to Subway as. Until now – let’s get it hipster-trending, y’all, because the guy at the ‘Bot says so.

The available side is Sun Chips, which is good news, but they’re the new parmesan and herb flavor, which isn’t. Because let’s be honest – Sun Chips don’t have flavors. They have salty, dehydrated dairy product sprinkled on them, and it all tastes the same. You might as well go for the Harvest Cheddar flavor, because every other version is just a bleached-out, blanded-down derivative of it.

Quizno’s meat is a Russian Roulette crap shoot – when it’s good, it’s great, but on a bad day, your stomach might be taking the metaphorical bullet of all the gristly parts at once That’s really more of a hazard with their beef than their chicken, but the chicken can come in the “soft ‘n stringy” variety, which is good for mozzarella but not so good for bird breast. I got around 50/50 on this one, to which the solution is always more trips to the honey mustard pump (seriously, Subway, copy the “pepper bar” concept and sauce pumps. If you make all the unhealthy extra-topping liquids optional, you still get plausible deniability on the health thing).

I do have to call bullshit on the “seasonal lettuce blend,” unless it’s somehow always the season for the generic iceberg that everybody puts on everything. Don’t give Taco Bell the idea that they can call one of their main five ingredients that, though I won’t object if they start calling their “ground beef” a “seasonal meat blend” instead. Nor will I ask if it’s duck season or wabbit season, or god forbid, anything else.

The one area where this chain really does save me calories, though, is in the drink department, because they have Diet Mountain Dew on tap. I can’t NOT do the Dew when it’s on offer, but I can downsize to diet, being more hooked on sugar substitutes in soda than even alcohol, arguably. But I do permit myself a single sip of the raspberry lemonade, which they present in a charming manner that looks homemade even if it isn’t.

Now, bring back the screeching spongmonkeys in the ads, please.