Sep 23, 2014

Review: Del Taco - Southwest Grilled Chicken & Veggie Fresca Bowl

Del Taco's Southwest Grilled Chicken & Veggie Fresca Bowl is one of three new Fresca Bowls being offered by the fast food chain and features grilled chicken, fire-roasted red and green bell peppers, roasted corn, caramelized onions, and poblano peppers on a bed of seasoned black beans and fresca lime rice.

I bought the bowl for $4.

Where Chipotle and Taco Bell go with a wider, more shallow oval bowl, Del Taco goes with a deeper, narrower circular bowl. The toppings were enough to almost completely cover up the underlying rice and beans.

Del Taco advertises the Fresca Bowls as having slightly more chicken than similar bowls from Chipotle and Taco Bell and there seemed to be a good amount of chicken here. Del Taco's chicken is pretty salty. I'm used to getting it in a soft taco or burrito where there's more buffer ingredients. Here, I got its flavor on full display and there was a good deal of salt involved. Other than the salt, the chicken was moist and seasoned with a nice flavor.

The veggies were cooked to softness; some people like that but I would prefer them a little firmer. Beside the corn, they also tended to be liberally salted, which was a bit much with the already salty chicken. The peppers and the onions weren't too distinguished, but the corn added a nice sweet component.

Poblano peppers are known for their mildness, but there was a pervasive spiciness to most of the veggies and the chicken in my Fresca Bowl. I wouldn't think it came from the poblanos (although it's possible), which makes me think the dish is just seasoned with some heat. It's not super spicy, but it's there.

The rice and the beans provide the base of the dish, but might have actually been doled out in equal amount to the toppings. While very nice from a bang-for-the-buck standpoint, they don't quite do enough to blunt the salt of the toppings.

Overall, Del Taco's Southwest Grilled Chicken & Veggie Fresca Bowl is a solid effort at a burrito bowl, but could stand some more rice and beans or less salt. For $4, it's a pretty good value.

Nutritional info not available.

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