Review: Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla from Taco Bell
It’s been established that I like Taco Bell for their value menu items and not the premium priced stuff. I’m like that with most fast food places and I gravitate towards interesting, well-priced promotional menu offerings and the rest of it I tend to brush off. With that said, I just had the new premium-priced Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla and it has instantly become one of the best Taco Bell products I’ve ever had. Taco Bell describes their new Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla like this:
A double portion of marinated premium thick-cut steak combined with pepper jack cheese, all folded in a grilled tortilla. Served with nacho chips and fire-roasted tomato Cantina salsa and reduced-fat sour cream for dipping.
At $4.99, even though this is a higher priced entree, it’s a great deal because you’re getting a filling, complete combo meal. Adding in a drink will push the price over the six dollar mark, but this product as-is provides a great value. Premium-pricing aside, I’ll still respect a product if I feel like I’m getting a fair deal. For fast food and the pricing trends I’ve come to expect, the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla gets a passing grade.
Not often do we get a new product that is a combo in itself, and with the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla, chips and salsa are included and this was a great move by Taco Bell. What makes the decision to include chips and salsa so smart is Taco Bell is able to feature their new fire-roasted tomato Cantina salsa. Taco Bell packages all of the components of this product together in the same well-constructed thin cardboard box and makes a surprisingly decent item for grubbing on the go. Fast food should excel in value and packaging and Taco Bell accomplishes both. I’ve always hated that old paper/plastic packaging with the other quesadillas and happy it’s no where to be found with the Cantina version.The cups of reduced-fat sour cream and Cantina salsa are sized just right so you’re not squeezing your quesadilla or chips into a tiny container and barely scraping the lacking remnants. I finished my meal with both sour cream and salsa to spare and I felt like I got more than enough for my dipping. As far as taste and heat go, the Cantina salsa is pretty mild, but has a great flavor which matches very well with either the quesadilla or the chips. I would’ve preferred a little more heat to the Cantina salsa… maybe amped up to a medium, but the blend of peppers, garlic, fire roasted tomato and onion were a nice fit.
The double portion of steak is prepared with a marinade of lime, spices and Worcestershire sauce. As you may or may not know, Taco Bell has gone through a couple of steak makeovers over the last couple of years and they think they finally nailed it with the steak. To me, it’s still steak from a fast food joint so I’m not expecting much. It’s passable and less chewy than previous versions. The flavor of the steak comes through enough because there’s plenty of it to go around with this. The Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla excels far above the previous incarnations by using pepper jack cheese instead of that standard three-cheese blend that we’ve come to expect in so many Taco Bell products. The pepper jack cheese melts perfectly and the flavor pops in a way that the three-cheese blend never could.I love quesadillas and Lorena Garcia/Taco Bell came through with an impressive new fast food product in the Cantina Double Steak Quesadilla. It’s the total package for me by combining a generously sized quesadilla stuffed with steak, some cool sour cream to dip it in and a bit of a bonus with the chips and Cantina salsa. So far with the Cantina line of products, I’ve considered it to be an OK attempt at trying to branch out into fast casual territory. The thing of it is, I still would like to see this narrowing gap between Taco Bell and Chipotle/Moe’s/Q’doba to become a thing of the past, but I’m afraid it’s here to stay. I might find myself not minding this too much since Taco Bell now has a clear winner that has me thinking this is flat out well executed fast food.
Pros: Pepper jack cheese is a huge improvement over "three cheese blend". Filling and a combo in itself with chips and Cantina salsa included. Good amount of steak. Packaging.
Cons: Fast food steak is fast food steak. Cantina salsa could use more heat.
Grubbing on-the-go: 6.75/10
Overall GrubGrade: 8.75/10
More Info: http://www.tacobell.com/food/menu/cantinaBell
Serving Size: 438 grams
Calories - 960
Total Fat - 45 grams
Saturated Fat - 19 grams
Sodium - 2070 milligrams
Carbs - 97 grams
Dietary Fiber - 9 grams
Protein - 43 grams