Food Review: Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco

Taco Bell enters the Chicken Sandwich Wars. With a Taco.

I’ve been reasonable agnostic during the Chicken Sandwich Wars. I’ve tried few, if any, of the new chicken sandwiches floating around. I have long been a loyalist to the Original Chicken Sandwich at Chick-fil-A. Not that I wouldn’t try the offerings from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Popeyes or others. I just haven’t.

But today, I did try the Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco today. It looked like this.

The good news is that if you order using the app you can get the Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco box that comes with a drink, the Sandwich Taco, a Cheesy Bean Burrito, and a hard or soft taco for $5.99. It’s a good value.

The presentation of the taco/sandwich is rather underwhelming. It looks small sitting there in it’s wrapper. And it truly is small compared to any other chicken sandwich. It would be better to call this a taco/slider than a taco/sandwich. Either way, it’s a taco and not a sandwich. Unless you think tacos are sandwiches. Which they aren’t. But since this uses bread, maybe it is. That’s not the important thing here.

The Bread: The bread is fantastic. It is reminiscent of a fry bread more so than anything that is traditionally served on the Taco Bell menu. It is light, fluffy, and delicious. One reviewer for The Washington Post said the bread is “a refreshingly new take in the category, which is packed with more buns than spring break at Miami Beach.” And that’s an accurate take for comparison’s sake.

The Sauce: I’m sorry, but the chipotle sauce is just too damn hot for me. I got the regular version and not the spicy version of the sandwich. The spicy comes with pickled jalapenos that the regular does not. And even though it was not the spicy version, the taste of the sauce just overwhelmed the taste of the chicken. Though that may not be a bad thing because….

The Chicken: ….the chicken was just pedestrian. It was boring. It tasted like any other mass produced chicken tender that you may have had as an appetizer at some corporate function. That’s not just the general taste level, but the size as well. Like I said, this is a slider size taco, not a sandwich size taco. It is not a meal in-and-of itself like its competitors.

This is what Taco Bell says about their chicken:

We took crispy, white-meat chicken. Marinated it in jalapeño buttermilk. Seasoned it with bold Mexican spices. Rolled it in a crunchy, tortilla-chip coating. 

Good luck finding any of those flavors in the sandwich. Is that more the fault of the overbearing chipotle sauce or the bland chicken? It’s hard to say. But there is nothing worth writing home about as it relates to the small chicken tender provided.

The Verdict: Historically, Taco Bell has really only had one sandwich in their history. The Bell Beefer has been on and off the menu since the 1970’s. The Beefer was the son of the earlier Bellburger. Both were basically glorified sloppy joes, replacing Manwich mix with Taco Bell’s loose meat. I’ve never had one of these things, but I can see why they are no longer offered. People who go to Taco Bell want a taco. Not a sandwich.

As far as the Taco Bell Crispy Chicken Sandwich Taco goes, the trend continues. Bland chicken. Too-hot of a sauce. The only saving grace about this taco/sandwich/slider is the fry bed bun, which should be a menu option for every taco, Gordita, and Chalupa on the menu. It’s perfectly cromulent if you’re hungry, but why get it when there are other tastier options on the menu?

Besides, why would anybody got to Taco Bell specifically for a chicken sandwich when you can get a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A, Zaxby’s, Bojangles, and a bunch of other places that is light years better tasting than this? Even local chains can do better than this offering.

This thing is available for a limited time. The fry bread like shell is worth trying but as far as the rest of this taco/sandwich hybrid, you won’t miss anything by not trying it.