It's bacon, Monterrey and Pepper Jack cheeses with a dollop of mayonnaise-ish "Colonel's sauce" -- sandwiched between two chicken fillets (fried or grilled). No bread. That's the gimmick. It's why practically every restaurant critic in the land -- along with bloggers for food, pop culture, entertainment and even a few politics sites -- went out and bought one Monday, then wrote about the experience.
Here's a taste.
- " ... the sandwich is an almost total dud. The chicken itself is stringy and none-too-tender, the taste of the cheese pointedly interferes with the mild chicken flavor, and the bacon is indiscernible if you bite down on the whole thing at once." -- Robert Sietsema on Village Voice food blog Fork in the Road.
- "The Double Down ... arrives at a new low: a greasy entree dish of chicken with bacon and cheese on it, slathered in sauce, that the company asks customers to eat with their hands. ... It is, in all, a disgusting meal, a must-to-avoid." -- New York Times food critic Sam Sifton (caught in the act of reporting with his Double Down at the 33rd and Broadway KFC in this photo from Eater NY).
- "At first, this sandwich just was a mess to eat. ... I also wasn't able to taste the bacon over the excessive amount of cheese and sauce. ... I also felt kinda like a cave man a.k.a. slob eating this thing with no bun." -- review submitted by Chicago RedEye reader Lane Goldberg.
- "It is very much what you think it is, a sloppy and salty mess, and will make your stomach hurt for several hours after you've consumed it." -- The Awl publisher David Cho.
- "The Double Down did to my gastrointestinal system what Sherman did to the South, leaving a scorched-earth trail of destruction in its wake." -- The A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin, who tried one being test-marketed in Providence, R.I., in September.
- "The sandwich, while yummy, was nowhere near as decadently delish as we had been expecting. All of the demonizing media coverage had led us to believe that it would be a sinful pleasure of flavorful goodness, but truth be told, it didn't really taste out of this world." -- Mark Graham on Best Week Ever blog.
- " ... with a complete bite of chicken, cheese, bacon and sauce, this sandwich really isn't bad. ... We can foresee this becoming the new 'hangover food' of choice." -- Slashfood's Rachel Been.
- "Yes, you feel fat while eating it. But as out-there as the sandwich is supposed to be, it would have done better to go further. ... KFC would do better to double the cheese and the bacon ... If you're going to go there, might as well really go there. -- Always Hungry New York blogger Arthur Bovino.
- "It's sort of hilarious. It's sort of perfect. And then it'll probably make you vomit ..." -- Mark Morford in Huffington Post's food section, which also debuted Monday.
"I finally managed to down the entire thing with a feeling of triumph mixed with sadness knowing my arteries have given up and walked off the job. The sandwich itself was good, but I honestly don't know if I could ever eat another one, as I'm pretty sure I cut my life expectancy by 1/3," Steve Kelley said in Review St. Louis. "I get the feeling this might just be a promotional thing that won't stay on the menu for long. For the sake of our country's health, I hope so."
"It's also unfathomably salty, and the exorbitant sodium levels could melt icy driveways (1,380 mg for fried version; 1,430 mg for grilled)," added Kevin Pang on the Chicago Tribune food blog The Stew.
Pang predicted that stand-up comics would "construct 10-minute riffs around this." In fact, Patton Oswalt is already known for his routine skewering KFC's Famous Bowls as "a failure pile in a sadness bowl." (Click to watch video. Warning: Adult language.) When Oswalt heard that KFC's new product is named Double Down, the comedian cracked, "Already they're implying that you're gambling in purchasing this food item."
The breadless sandwich -- which Times critic Sifton dismissed as "stunt food" and which is now immortalized on the Web site This Is Why You're Fat -- has made such a splash that Eater NY published a field guide, filled with fast-food facts and links to even more reviews.
Amid all the fuss, Salon's Francis Lam tried to put things into perspective: "... the really funny thing about the Double Down is not that it exists, not that it's a dare pretending to be a lunch, but that it would be nothing special if they added a bun to it."