Restaurant Review: Arby’s and the Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich

Details: Located at 611 8th Ave., New York, NY 10018, among other locations. Official site is http://arbys.com/

So it’s been a number of years since I’ve last been here and that has been a deliberate act. I live in New York City, so if I ever want a pre-made sandwich, there are countless options of deli’s and supermarkets and diners that I can go to to get my sandwich fix. Chain restaurants and franchises that offer sandwiches are at best second rate when compared against the thinly sliced meats local, New York City establishments can produce.

Among the franchises and chains that I abhor, Arby’s holds a special place in my heart. I hate Arby’s. I used to eat it out of necessity because it was the only restaurant that was fast and cheap enough on my route to school. After I graduated, I decided to never eat their shitty sandwiches ever again.

That changed recently after I had seen a number of online videos praising their new pork belly sandwich. Videos like the following:

The above videos were really enticing, so I decided to give in and give Arby’s another chance. At the very least, I wanted to try that pork belly sandwich.

For a fast food sandwich from an establishment on the same level as McDonald’s or Burger King (at least in my mind), Arby’s Smokehouse Pork Belly Sandwich was fucking amazing. I could not believe how much I enjoyed this sandwich. One of the reasons is that pork belly is my undeniable weakness (that and uni… man I love uni), so there is some bias at work here. But man, it was pretty damn good.

The sandwich consists of two, large slices of marinated (maybe even braised) pork belly, some fried stuff, cheese, and mayonnaise and barbecue sauce (I think). The pork belly had just the right layers of fat and super tender meat. The sauce worked and had the exact kind of barbecue tang that you’d like to have on it. The fried stuff and cheese offered the texture and umami that you want to get from any burger. It was just great. I washed that sucker down with some curly fries and Mountain Dew.

Also worth a mention was the very high tech soda fountain at this specific location. It’s got a touch screen which offers a large number of sugary liquids. It’s just fun interacting with the machine.

Also worth mentioning are the Arby’s sauce and horseradish sauce that Arby’s has. While I generally hate Arby’s, I always appreciated that they gave away packets of these other two sauces for free. You don’t really see horseradish packets in fast food places all that often.

Score: 6.5/10 It’s a good sandwich for a fast food place. You could probably get better pork belly at a higher end restaurant. For about ten dollars though (with fries and a drink), it’s a damn good deal.

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