Food News

Popeyes' Flounder Fish Sandwich Bucks the Frightening Fare of Fast Food Fish

Popeye's Chicken now has its own version of the fish sandwich with the Flounder Fish sandwich just in time for Lent.
Popeye's Chicken now has its own version of the fish sandwich with the Flounder Fish sandwich just in time for Lent. Danny Gallagher
The English language is full of frightening words: spine-tingling, chainsaw, Filet-o-Fish. But few can top the horror that rises when these three seemingly innocent words are placed next to one another: fast food fish.

We all know fast food in general isn't the healthiest thing we can eat in a hurry, but fish items served through a car window are usually a drive-thru dare that lead to disaster.

The smell is usually a warning that you shouldn't continue bringing the thing closer to your mouth, like some disembodied voice in a haunted wood yelling, "Goooo back!"

Thanks to the speedy service we demand from our drive-thrus, they are either rushed through and overcooked, creating the mouth feeling of a used tire or are undercooked, creating the kind of painful and uncomfortable food poisoning that could turn the pope into an atheist.

Popeyes Chicken has been on an upswing thanks to its chicken sandwich craze a few years ago that called out Chick-Fil-a for not selling fried chicken that tastes like actual fried chicken in sandwich form. Now, just in time for Lent or Keto dieters (or whatever crazed meal plan that's being bandied about now to create the illusion of healthy weight loss without having to actually eat healthier), Popeyes is trying to give fish sandwiches the same shot by bringing back its Cajun Flounder sandwich in what could become its own McRib anomaly.

Though the bar is already pretty low when it comes to the competition, Popeyes' new sandwich is worth waiting the few extra minutes it takes to make. 

Popeyes' new fish entrée comes in regular and spicy varieties on its signature white bread bun. The only difference between the two is the sauce. The regular comes with thick cut pickles and tartar sauce just like all fish sandwiches should. The spicy comes with pickles and a spicy, orange sauce. The latter is a little OK but had so much potential it misses.

The spice only comes from a spicy, orange sauce instead of the fish seasoning, and it's a little runny. The spicy version also eliminates the need for tartar sauce. It's just a little bit of a letdown for someone who can appreciate the beauty of spicy, and it's a shame because the spice linger is quite nice.

Both, however, are quite tasty on different levels. The crust on the fish patty has a delicious, buttery crunch, and the fish is light and cooked just right. It tastes like someone took the time to fry fish the right way even if it's being served through a window.

It also doesn't hurt that it comes with Popeyes' Cajun style french fries and the option of purchasing a couple of buttermilk biscuits to tide you over on the ride home. The fries are spiced, which is a miracle since the majority of fast food chains think even putting salt on fries before serving them will hurt the corporation's bottom line.

Even though a fish sandwich sounds like a healthier option on Popeyes' deep fried menu, it's far from diet food. The smart eating website Eat This, Not That! listed the original version of the Cajun Fish sandwich as one of the nine fast food items you should never eat thanks to its 670 calories and 36 grams of fat. So nutritionally, it's only good if you're one of the remaining reverent folks who still believe eating meat on a Friday during Lent is a mortal sin.

Even so, it's not the worst thing you can get to meet your spiritual obligations. Popeyes' Flounder Fish sandwich marks the only time I've ever said in my life, "I'm glad I ate that drive-thru fish sandwich." 
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.