Arby's Introduces New 'Debris-Style Gravy'

arby Arby's Introduces New 'Debris Style Gravy'As Arby’s begins a big marketing push for its new menu of Angus roast-beef sandwiches, the chain might want to avoid the sort of language emplolyed by Brian Kolodziej, its vice president for product development and integration, at a recent media tasting.   

The setting was a 12th-floor dining room at the Institute of Culinary Education on West 23rd Street, and Mr. Kolodziej was unveiling the restaurant’s new Angus Three Cheese & Bacon Sandwich, along with several additional menu items still in development, to a roomful of local journalists. Among them were staffers from Maxim, AOL and Nylon, and a suspiciously large contingent from Men’s Health. 

One slight appetite suppressant was his habit of referring to the new sandwiches as “builds” or “assemblies.” Talk of “filling up the culinary pipeline” seemed open to wild misinterpretation (just us?). And describing the premium Angus beef—which he claimed is “prized for its beef qualities”—as coming from “the inside muscle of the upper portion of the hind leg of the animal” seemed like too much information.

Um, hello? We’re trying to eat here!

But it was the characterization of the au jus, an accompaniment to the still-in-beta Ultimate Angus Gravy Dipper, that prompted titters from the crowd. He called it “debris-style gravy with bits of particulate.”

And for dessert? The creamy frosting tucked into the Outside-In Cinnamon Bites was likened to “slurry.” 

Despite all that, The Observer somehow managed to consume the better part of all four roast-beef sandwiches during the event, and Mr. Kolodziej’s genius in the kitchen was heartily affirmed. By the way, slurry was never so scrumptious; nor, at just $1, so affordable.

About that Gravy Dipper, Mr. Kolodziej said the inspiration for the sandwich came from a local source, This Little Piggy Ate Roast Beef, a year-old hole-in-the-wall joint in the East Village. 

“That’s pretty impressive,” said Piggy cowner Francis Garcia when told of the shout-out. “It’s giving me goosebumps.” 

Mr. Garcia didn’t seem especially worried about his little beef shack drowning in a flood of corporate-engineered particulate gravy. “I’d love to do a roast beef throwdown with them, actually,” he said of the 3,800-location chain, which planned an invasion of New York a few years back that was, tragically, a bust. (Two Queens locations remain.) 

“We make killer french fries, too,” Mr. Garcia added. “Hand cut. And we don’t do curly.”

agell [at] observer.com | @aarongell