Last week, two adventurous Consumerist readers took us up on our challenge to test out White Castle’s experimental BBQ and noodle menus being tested at single restaurants in Indiana and Ohio, respectively. Now, we complete the White Castle Trilogy with a reader’s impressions of the chain’s Decker’s pressed sandwich menu in Lebanon, TN.
Reader Michelle sent us the following report, along with all the photos you see:
I arrived fairly late on a Sunday night, so I nearly had the restaurant to myself. Despite this, they still had at least a half dozen employees doing their best to keep busy wiping down everything though the restaurant appeared spotless.
With no one else to serve except the occasional drive-thru customer, it still took over 5 minutes to prepare and serve my order. This wasn’t a problem at all for me, but sounds like a recipe for disaster in the aforementioned drive-thru. I did note that they had specially marked parking spaces for Deckers pick-up which is presumably where drive-thru customers would likewise be directed to wait.
I ordered from a fairly limited menu: 10 sandwiches, 3 salads, and 4 soups (two varieties each of tomato and chicken noodle). I chose the chicken cordon bleu, with a side of potato salad. Unlike ordering at Subway, I wasn’t presented with an endless litany of options for what kind of bread and toppings I wanted. I presume if you wish to make substitutions, it could be done, but I wasn’t concerned with testing that. Though it would have been nice to have seen a list of breads, meats, cheeses, & condiments on the menu board to select from if one so desired to customize.
When my meal arrived, it was served with everything in its own paper, foil, or plastic container. All tucked into a basket barely large enough to contain them. That, fluorescent lighting, and white Formica, all conveyed “fast food” more than the “fast casual” that one might associate with a $6 sandwich.
The sandwich itself wasn’t too bad. The bread was grilled a little darker than I cared for, but that’s probably a matter of personal preference. As all their sandwiches are triple deckers though, it seemed like a little too much bread to everything else. The center slice (also toasted/grilled) segregated the chicken from the ham, which are typically together in a cordon bleu, resulting in a different texture and taste. The potato salad was a little disappointing, drowned in mayo making it fairly bland with an onion aftertaste. A crisp dill pickle spear was also included which was a nice touch, helping to offset the fast food ambiance just a bit.
I didn’t sample their desserts: Chocolate chips (milk, dark, or spicy) on white bread, or chocolate hazelnut spread (no mention of Nutella by name) with or without banana slices on white. If their depiction of the item is at all accurate, they looked like something you’d want to eat while wearing a lobster bib.
While I made an effort to “find the warts” so to speak, the sandwich was enjoyable. I would have no objections to eating there again, but I wouldn’t make a special trip for it though. I would have liked to have seen a little more variety in the offerings–A BLT, Philly cheesesteak, meatball, etc. Moreover, not everything suits itself well to being a triple decker sandwich, which is their motif and thus everything shoehorned into that format. None of the sandwiches contained lettuce (since it won’t hold up to grilling) which is something traditionally included in a “club” sandwich. No cellophane tipped toothpicks here either.
I would have liked to have seen more soups and salads to choose from. One offering: lettuce & tomato topped with chicken salad, tuna salad, and potato salad sounded as off-putting to me as eating a few sliders. A broccoli cheddar or vegetable beef soup would have been nice as well. I think they are a little late coming to the panini party, with Panera Breads already claiming dominance in a market that has already passed its apex.
Thanks to Michelle for the review!