The insanity that is Carl's Jr. menu prices led me to try out the advertised $4 Real Deal. This is what we at Fast Food Source refer to not as a combo but rather a "bundle". The Wendy's 4 for $4 and the Taco Bell Big Boxes are other examples, and you can read those reviews here. A bundle is like a combo, but typically puts two or more entree items together for a fixed, flat price. In the case of Carl's Jr.'s Real Deal, that's a Double Cheeseburger, a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, a small order of fries and a small drink. How was it? Filling, but bready. Read on.
First off, the Double Cheeseburger is two small patties, one slice of cheese, mustard, ketchup, pickle and onion. The bun was too big for this sandwich, and if you can't gauge the scale of the patties, take a look at the picture below where my finger is used for perspective:
Maybe they could call this a Double Thinburger. But that's not fair, as this is supposed to be a cheap burger. Tastewise, I liked it. You still get flame-broiled patties so the meat is juicy and savory. It's your basic cheeseburger. Again, the bun was too big so that is my only gripe.
On to the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. Long time readers of this blog will know how passionate I am about Carl's Jr.'s Charbroiled Chicken Club Sandwich. It's quite possibly the best fast food chicken sandwich you can buy. But on the other end of the spectrum is the ho hum crispy breaded disaster that is the Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It's a glop of mayo, a half-hearted slap of lettuce, and a very dull, dry chicken breast on a standard burger bun.
There is no mistaking this for a premium chicken sandwich, which makes it a good thing my expectations were low. And if you extrapolate this bundle with Wendy's, this sandwich takes the place of four nuggets. I'm sure Carl's opts for the sandwich because they don't have a cheap nugget, only premium chicken strips. In any case, it's serviceable.
The fries are standard Carl's fries. Not exciting, but not terrible. You cannot substitute for Criss-cut at the same price, but of course you can't. This is a four dollar deal and we're eating at Carl's on the cheap.
Apart from the breadiness of the bread and the chicken, I will say the meal was fine and certainly filled me up without draining my wallet. Purchased separately, my receipt told me I would've paid $6.97. That's $2.49 for the Double Cheeseburger, $1.49 for the Spicy Chicken, $1.99 for the fries and $1 for the drink. That's artificially inflated, however, as very few people pay $1.99 for a small fry by itself. Still, it's a bundle and it does what it sets out to do. But with $4 and a choice, I'd skip Carl's and go to Wendy's.