Oh, grow up! Hey, maybe they have ...

Special to The Times

KNOWN mostly for its inexplicably shiny roast beef, Arby's has slowly been positioning itself for a more adult demographic, expanding its menu with "grown-up" items like Reuben sandwiches on marble rye. Recently, Arby's introduced Arby's Chicken Naturals, a name that refers to the chain's claim that the chicken in their sandwiches, wraps, salads and tenders now comes from chicken breasts that haven't been injected with water, salt or phosphates. Natural fast food -- how mature!

At the top of the line is the Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich, a sesame seed bun filled with ham, Swiss and your choice of a "natural" grilled or fried chicken patty. Is it good enough to become your next natural selection?


Arby's Chicken Natural Cordon Bleu Sandwich


Taste **

The grilled chicken version is juicier than the fried, but, sadly, neither will knock your socks off. One question: Can chicken meat be truly "natural" when it's shipped frozen? Did the chicken freeze to death? Natural is nice, but taste-wise, fresh trumps frozen, and Arby's frozen-shipped natural chicken tastes pretty much like any other fast-food chicken.


Diet Watch**

The crispy fried version weighs in with a hefty 710 calories, with 35 grams of fat and 52 grams of carbohydrates. Dieters should steer toward the grilled version with a more reasonable 490 calories, 19 grams of fat and 35 grams of carbs. Or better yet, order a salad.



It's a fairly large sandwich but not too messy. However, we urge you not to attempt to spread on the "horsey sauce" while driving.



In a bizarre ad campaign, Arby's shows what Hulk Hogan and Joan Rivers would look like if they too were "natural." The Hogan ad is funny, but the Rivers spot fails because "natural" Joan is much less scary than real-life Joan.

* Ratings are on a scale of one (lowest) to four (best).

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