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Dec 13, 2012

Review: El Pollo Loco - Shredded Beef Taco

El Pollo Loco's Shredded Beef Taco features an artisan corn/wheat tortilla filled with shredded beef, chipotle cream, Romaine lettuce, shredded Jack cheese, and pico de gallo salsa.

It's part of El Pollo Loco's latest venture into serving beef (after a failed attempt with steak) and comes in at $2.79 a pop. At 5.75 ounces, it's just a little heavier than a Taco Bell Gordita.

Let's start with the new shredded beef: it was really salty. There's a bit of a tomato-y tang, but mostly it was salty. While my eyes had some difficulty finding the beef, my tongue did not. If there was more of it, I would have struggled to place the rest of the ingredients.

The flavor kinda reminded me of the soft chicken tacos they used to serve at my elementary school for lunch. It's not bad, but in general, any food that reminds you of cafeteria food doesn't engender the best of memories.

The beef was also too finely shredded and lacked texture; it was mushy and in stringy little pieces. I was hoping for bigger chunks and more spices (it is entirely possible the spices were blocked out by the salt) for nuance. Their chicken is much, much better than their attempts at beef, but they are a grilled chicken chain after all.

The tortilla had that nice imperfect edge you might find in a fresh, person-made tortilla, but the texture was too soft, moist, and uniform for me to think "artisan." It wasn't all too different from a thick flour tortilla. A bit of grilling might have added some welcomed crisping.

The chipotle cream added a bit of a kick, but the pico de gallo was a little soggy, The lettuce was fine though. I didn't really notice the cheese over everything else.

Overall, El Pollo Loco's Shredded Beef Taco was a pedestrian effort that just wasn't very good. The beef was too salty and not flavorful enough and I would have rather have had their plain corn tortilla over the "artisan" version.

Nutritional Info - El Pollo Loco Shredded Beef Tacos - 5.75 oz
Calories - 270 (from Fat - 120)
Fat - 13g (Saturated Fat - 6g)
Sodium - 860mg
Carbs - 24g (Sugar - 2g)
Protein - 15g


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