Taco Bell’s new Beefy Nacho Griller, briefly

I hope to have a more thorough review of Taco Bell’s new line of Grillers upon my return from vacation later this month. But last night I had the opportunity to enjoy a Beefy Nacho Griller at the World’s Weirdest Taco Bell — in the back of Liberty Cafe on 3rd Ave. in Manhattan — and, in lieu of a qualified defense of Rex Ryan’s decision to flee prying questions about Tim Tebow’s future for Bahamian beaches, I figured I’d provide a quick write-up now.

pdp_griller_beefy_nacho_1The Beefy Nacho Griller contains nothing new or unfamiliar to longtime fans of Taco Bell. It’s a burrito shell, wrapped and grilled around seasoned beef, nacho cheese and — this is important — crunchy f-ing red strips.

Reconfiguring longstanding Taco Bell ingredients into new Taco Bell menu items is right in Taco Bell’s wheelhouse, and Taco Bell knocks this one out of the park. It’s not large — the Griller series is marketed to snackers, and the Beefy Nacho Griller contains roughly the meatlode of a MexiMelt or Crunchy Taco.

But it’s delicious. The seasoned beef and nacho cheese combine to create a comforting, salty, peppery Taco Bell flavor. It’s not unlike the MexiMelt, actually, only the distinction in cheese styles renders the Beefy Nacho Griller more creamy than melty, and it comes without the frustrating need to specify no tomatoes.

Also, the tightly wrapped and grilled tortilla aptly contains the Taco Bell on par with the most portable prior products, producing a great treat for the drive-thru set or, in urban settings like this one, those who prefer to eat their Taco Bell while walking. And those red strips, by far the most underrated Taco Bell ingredient, continue to defy the ubiquitous orange Taco Bell grease, maintaining their crunchiness and creating a pleasant diversity of textures.

My one small gripe with the Beefy Nacho Griller is its somewhat high ratio of tortilla to filling, which seems unavoidable fallout from repurposing the burrito shell for a snack-sized product.

The Beefy Nacho Griller hardly launched to the type of hype that came with the Doritos Locos Tacos or the Cantina Bell menu, but Taco Bell traditionalists will find it far better than all those things.

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