Fast Food Review: Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell

I was feeling like quite a failure at approximately 10:46 p.m. on June 21, 2011. Here it was, National Junk Food Day, and my day had consisted of the following eats:

  • An egg white omelette with cherry tomatoes and a side of whtle wheat toast
  • A salad of oranges, turkey breast, cucumbers and Bok Choy
  • A protein shake with lowfat yogurt, reduced fat ice cream, and chocolate protein powder
  • Another salad of sautéed shrimp and cherry tomatoes
  • A couple of slices of Whole Foods’ Spinach and Feta focaccia, 3-4 Diet Pepsis
  • “Dinner” consisting of brie cheese wedges, dried pears, and honey roasted pecans.

It was all very artisan, fresh, sustainable,  foodie-friendly, and blah blah blah blah blah. In short, it was a little snapshot of what my diet has been like since moving to a new state and starting a new job – pitifully devoid of the fatty, salty good stuff that every red-blooded 22-year old is entitled to in these here United States.

God must have been smiling on me that Thursday evening though, because a late night supply run by two loving family members found me in possession of not one, but two of Taco Bell’s Burrito Sepremes. As we reported earlier this week here on GrubGrade, the Burrito Supreme is currently being offered at 99 cents through August 6th, and features “seasoned beef, hearty beans, tangy red sauce, crisp shredded lettuce, real cheddar cheese, diced onions, diced ripe tomatoes, and reduced-fat sour cream.”

All that for a buck? Heck, I’m game. Granted there have been quite a few complaints raised against Taco Bell and their menu “innovations,” but let’s get one thing straight; this is a great deal for a buck, and a perfect homage to the humble glory of everything you want from junk food.

Like any Taco Bell burrito, it looks pitifully unappetizing when you open it from the bag, but was thankfully radiating heat nearly an hour after being picked up for me. The warm flour tortilla isn’t the most flavorful, but then again, it isn’t chalky, stale, or falling apart. It actually has decent flavor, and gives way to the gooey, meaty taste explosion inside.

The beans and ground meat dominate, which in this case is a good thing. The refried beans have a good cumin and chili pepper taste which – while not “Chipotle Fresh” – strike me as undoubtably tasty. There isn’t a ton of meat in here, but there’s a respectable amount for the price, and the seasoned ground beef balances a moist chew with that trademark American-style taco meat packet taste. I love how the red sauce works into all this. It’s not unreasonably sweet like ketchup, but it does a good job of enhancing the beans and beef with a tomato and garlic flavor. The cheese is just at that perfect fast food point between complete goo and chalky raw filler non-taste that actually makes eating it perfectly acceptable.

There are some downsides – noticeably the gooey, overly runny sour cream, which doesn’t add much lightness or tang, and comes at a cost of killing the composite texture of the unlucky fourth of the burrito it ends up in. Likewise, the lettuce is pathetic and overwhelmed, and the overly starchy burrito ends could use some salty and meaty filling to slurp up. And there is that point about looking absolutely nothing like the website picture, and being amongst the most un-photogenic things since, well, ever. But really, how can you go wrong with something salty and meaty for just a buck? Heck, the thing isn’t even really greasy, and it’s 17 grams of protein and nine grams of fiber make it halfway healthy – if, that is, you only eat one. And after a month of not eating any fast food, did you really think I was limiting myself to one on National Junk Food Day?

Pros: Remarkably light on the grease. Beans and meat are plentiful and full of flavor. Cheese is gooey and melted. Burrito exterior isn't too heavy and has a nice, starchy chew. Red sauce has tomato paste-like sweetness. Good for spice wimps who want cheap, and I mean CHEAP. Great way to celebrate National Junk Food Day. The most fiber-filled junk food you'll ever have.

Cons: Moderatle size and insane cheapness leads to propensity to down two at a time. Sour cream is worthless goo that destroys the structural integrity of 1/4th of your burrito. Napkins are required. Probably not the best thing to eat in the car, or while typing on your computer for that matter.

Taste: 7.50/10
Value: 9.50/10
Grubbing on-the-go: 5.00/10
Price: 99 cents (through August 6)

Overall GrubGrade: 7.75/10

More Info: TacoBell.com
Nutrition Facts:
Burrito Supreme
Calories – 420
Total Fat – 15 grams
Saturated Fat – 7 grams
Cholesterol – 35 milligrams
Sodium – 1150 milligrams
Carbs – 53 grams
Dietary Fiber – 9 grams
Sugars – 5 grams
Protein – 17 grams

18 comments on “Fast Food Review: Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell

  1. Jeff says:

    Where’s the beef?

  2. Helldog says:

    The lettuce has always bothered me. Don’t know why I don’t order it without, but lettuce belongs on tacos and tostadas, not inside burritos. I think Burrito Supremes are actually good cold, but the lettuce is the only outlier after it gets heated up and cools back down.

  3. somesteve says:

    cool review

  4. CC says:

    I find this to be poor value, honestly. Especially considering that on the same menu the Beefy 5 layer burrito is 99 cents and has considerably more substance to it…

    I tried the Burrito Supreme. For 99 cents I just don’t think it is worth it. I’m not sure what that says about it’s “usual” $2.69 price here. Most of the more expensive offerings from taco bell I find disappointing, though.

    • Robert says:

      “substance” = “more tortilla”? No, thanks. The burrito supreme at 99 cents is a steal. And it doesn’t have that nasty liquid cheese inside, either.

  5. Jim says:

    About 10 years ago, we did some secret shopper work. Taco Bell was one of the establishments we were to visit. The visit consisted of using the drive-thru, ordering select items, timing the transaction, verifying the cost display, weighing the items, and taking the temperature of the item. I would have been interested in the weight of the $.99 item versus the regular cost item. Might be something to consider in the future.

  6. rob says:

    I think the color of the burrito insides is generally referred to as “baby sh** brown.”

    I can see why they did not want to use an accurate depiction in their marketing materials.

  7. Chefprotoss or dan says:

    Don’t forget that it will cost three times as much in a week. I hope the price didn’t sway your review.

    • Adam says:

      You “hope” or you “think”? I’m guessing it was the latter…

      Obviously, Dan, it did. That’s why “value” is part of the ranking. Under normal circumstances I’d still find it tasty. But worth it? Maybe not as much, but then again, most average chicken sandwiches and burgers from FF places are around that pricepoint, so it’s not exactly highway robbery in comparative terms.

      • Chefprotoss or dan says:

        Sorry dude. I didn’t realize my comment seemed so serious. =P

        I always thought this was one of tb’s lamer items though. They should have done a 7 layer burrito for a buck.

        • CC says:

          Honestly, I feel the 5 layer at 99 cents is better value than the burrito supreme at 99 cents.

          I don’t see why the burrito supreme got a high value score, when there are other items on the same menu, at the same price, that to me are much better offerings.

          If it was cheaper than the 5 layer, I might say okay. Maybe it is worth it. At 99 cents, it’s just not.

          • PlatypusTheConqueror says:

            Yeah, we saw you said that already, further up there ^^^^^.

            Repeating it over and over will not make it true.

            Burrito Supreme gives you real cheddar cheese, fresh chopped lettuce, tomato, onions….

            I think you are misunderstanding what “value” means in terms of the context of the review, and I agree with the high value score on this promo.

            But we do understand that you like the 5-layer better because it has a heavy concentration of the ingredients you like (the cheapest ingredients), and that’s swell! Tell it on the mountain!!!!

        • Adam says:

          No prob. I’m just glad you didn’t bust me for picking out the lack of “authentic southwern flavor profile” haha

  8. CC says:

    You listed nutritional information as “Beefy crunch burrito” instead of the burrito supreme.

  9. jack says:

    Had two of these for lunch today and like you and others have said the lettuce is hella nasty. next time no lettuce.

  10. Janus says:

    Not sure about anyone else’s Taco Bell, but the one I work at has a $1.39 5-layer burrito. The discrepency in cost is all about number and type of ingredients, nothing more. If you know the cost of individual ingredients, you can add it up on a calculator and see it for yourself.

    Also a headscratcher is the idea that the $.99 burrito supreme would weigh less than a regular price one. When I make a $.99 burrito supreme I make it exactly the same way as I would any other time. Not all Taco Bell employees are shiftless stoners out to bilk the public of their hard-earned cash, you know.

    • CC says:

      5 layer: seasoned beef, beans, cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, nacho cheese sauce.

      supreme: seasoned beef, beans, red sauce, lettuce, cheddar cheese, diced onions, diced ripe tomatoes, and reduced-fat sour cream.

      Both are 99 cents here. Every time I’ve ordered the 5 layer, I get more beef, less sour cream, and a decent bit of nacho cheese. The two times I ordered the 99 cent burrito supreme, it was nearly half full of sour cream, lettuce and the red sauce..making it an orange-ish colored unfulfilling mixture.

  11. Biff McGee says:

    Only thing worth the price at taco bell? The hot sauce packets.