This Long John Silver's Menu Item Was Once Named The 'Worst Restaurant Meal In America'

In a world of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, Long John Silver's is a refreshing change of pace for the average fast-food connoisseur. Although this company's roots can be traced back to 1929 as a sit-down hamburger stand founded by Jerome Lederer, something strangely not discussed by the company itself, LJS has been serving up everything from fish to hush puppies since 1969. The company proudly boasts of responsibly sourcing its seafood from "real-sea places" and the commitment to bell-ringing service (and who doesn't love to ring the famous Captain's Bell at their local Long John Silver's?). Yet, it's selection of seafoods, poultry, and other assorted catches may be a cause for alarm for some.

You're forgiven if you believe that fish is healthier than your average Big Mac, and you may be right — unless said fish has been soaked in batter and deep-fried to a golden brown crunch. With selections ranging from batter-drenched fish and chicken to crumblies (those crispy little bits of fried batter that fill the bottom of every takeout box) on the menu, Long John Silver's isn't exactly the first place one thinks of when looking for a healthy seafood dish. While moderately unhealthy food at a fast-food joint isn't anything new or shocking, Long John Silver's briefly waved the flag of having the "Worst Restaurant Meal in America", an arrgh-uably honest title considering what's in it.

The Big Catch was a big artery-clogger

If you were expecting to read about Long John Silver's serving up some Lovecraftian creature from the deep (perhaps mistaking this for The Onion article) or people consuming raw fish and gooey batter, you'd be incorrect. The "Big Catch" platter consisted of a large haddock fillet fried in standard cornmeal batter, fried hush puppies, and a choice of batter-fried onion rings or French fries, all for the low price of $4.99. While you may think this is just your average LJS meal, it's just how much this platter will sink your heart rate like a doomed ship.

"A heart attack on a hook" were the words used by Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The CSPI wasn't interested in crumblies or a good bargain, but rather they focused on the extreme amount of trans fat found in the dish alone. According to the CSPI's findings, the Big Catch weighed in at a modest 1,300 calories, but brought in up to 33 grams of trans fats and 3,700 milligrams of sodium, an amount that's 15 times the 2 grams of trans fat suggested by the American Heart Association. "Long John Silver's Big Catch meal deserves to be buried 20,000 leagues under the sea," concluded Jacobson.

In a pleasant surprise, Long John Silver's did indeed remove trans fat oils from the frying process in 2014 and banished the Big Catch back down to the depths of fast-food history.