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Burger King's new Chicken Parmesan Sandwich delivers drive-thru Italian flavor

Burger King's Chicken Parmesan Sandwich delivers Italian flavor

Burger King Parmesan Chicken Sandwich
Here's the BK Chicken Parmesan Sandwich breakdown: a breaded and deep-fried chicken breast filet, marinara sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, shaved parmesan cheese, served on a toasted potato bun. Courtesy photo

This week I reached out for a Chicken Parmesan Sandwich, new from the No. 2 burger blaster, Burger King, with 13,000 restaurants worldwide. Monarchy rules.

Now about the name of this sandwich. How did Burger King come up with "Chicken PARMESAN Sandwich?" Everywhere I've ever been, this is a "Chicken PARMIGIANA Sandwich," same components, the greatest, sloppiest sandwich ever invented. I suspect the powerful Parmesan lobby of spreading lots of soft money for naming rights. So much for draining the swamp.

Years ago, this would be a Veal Parmigiana Sandwich, but we're more enlightened now. Besides, I really can't tell the difference.  If you can find a local, family-owned Italian restaurant that sells Chicken Parmigiana sandwiches, you get one. Dine-in, take-out, whatever.

Here's the BK Chicken Parmesan Sandwich breakdown: a breaded and deep-fried chicken breast filet, marinara sauce, melted mozzarella cheese, shaved parmesan cheese, served on a toasted potato bun.

Total calories: 570. Fat grams: 25. Carbs: 57 g. Sodium: 1,340 mg. Dietary fiber: 2 g. Protein: 32 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $4.99. With fries and soft drink, $6.99.

Earlier this year, Burger King introduced a new and vastly improved Crispy Chicken Sandwich with a real-deal slab of chicken, one breast from one chicken. No more the King's old chewed 'n' glued, particle board patty made from bits 'n' pieces of several chickens that probably never knew each other.

The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich uses this new breast filet, crispy outside, moist inside, so we're off to a good start. The "Italian-style" marinara is pretty in red, but a little bland if you're hoping for a pizzeria-quality chicken parm sandwich. This is a fast food emporium, so spicy is dumbed down for kids in the backseat.

The mozz is warm and stretchy and the shave parmesan is a nice touch. The bun is where this sandwich runs into trouble. A smooth and soft potato bun? No! A chicken parm sandwich belongs on a crusty Italian sub loaf. I want to hear crunch, I want crumbs on my lap. I want a hard, last-bite heel to sop up the marinara spillover. If a chicken parm sandwich doesn't require three napkins and a mop, might as well order a burger.

Still, let's give Burger King credit for imagination and effort. The Chicken Parmesan Sandwich is a fill'er-upper and does deliver drive-thru Italian flavor. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find a cannoli to top off my lunch.

One last word of advice for the Burger King marketing department. If you want to sell us on Italian, don't hire those Jersey Shore dimwits Snooki, the Situation and Pauly D to appear in your commercials. They even give chicken parm a bad name.