The two weeks are up, and it’s time to put Taco Bell’s new fried chicken taco shell creation into our mouths, for science. Sometimes science is pretty awesome. Believe it or not, this is one of those times.
After pulling off a major win a few years back with its Doritos Locos Tacos, normal tacos wrapped in a delicate powdered flavor embrace, Taco Bell rode rode their experimental success straight into a brick wall with the word “Quesalupa” spray-painted on it. They hyped that oily cheese-stuffed monster for weeks, whipping our taste buds into a frenzy of ill-advised desire, only to let us down.
So it’s understandable that we be wary of Naked Chicken Chalupa. Announced just a few short weeks ago, Taco Bell’s latest potential abomination replaced the thick corn tortilla that normally hugs a chalupa’s innards with a breaded and fried chicken disk. That disk is then stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and an avocado ranch sauce. It might sound harmless, but we’ve been burned before.
Yesterday was the launch day of the Naked Chicken Chalupa, so I traveled to my local Taco Bell and ordered three of the $2.99 menu items, which somehow came to $10.47 before taxes. My local Taco Bell is excellent. It’s my favorite place to have my credit card duped.
The Naked Chicken Chalupa certainly doesn’t look like a mouth-rending monstrosity. In the picture below it almost looks like the golden-battered fried chicken is smiling, like it’s happy to be eaten. It’s friend chicken.
The sort of friend who likes to open its mouth to show you what it’s been chewing on. Make sure you open the image in a new tab for the full effect.
It’s insides are, as expected, a simple combination of lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and green ranch dressing. I do not recommend eating it open-faced.
It smells like a fried chicken patty. It looks like a fried chicken patty. Once it’s securely inside of your chewing orifice, it tastes like a particularly juicy fried chicken patty, though that’s mainly an illusion created by the sauce and roughage. Still, it’s an excellent bite, especially when warm.
The chicken disk is spiced, bringing a little bit of heat to the party, a heat that’s perfectly balanced by the avocado ranch sauce. The lettuce and tomato do a fine job of overriding the greasy sensation that’s often a result of the frying process, resulting in a mouthful of delicious things without the usual aftertaste of fast food guilt.
Well done, Taco Bell, especially on the restraint. You could have put anything inside tasty fried chicken disk. You could have filled the chicken patty with beef, squirted it with nacho cheese, wrapped it in a flour tortilla and grilled it for some stupid reason, but no. You kept it simple, and the end result is simply tasty.
Not only has Taco Bell made up for the Quesalupa, I’m giving them a pass on their next horrific fuck up. Let’s make taco shells out of beef!