It was less than a year ago that Taco Bell released their Cantina Tacos—soft corn tortilla-wrapped numbers I deemed a real success (for the fast food world). Now, Qdoba has just introduced a limited-time-only street taco meal. How did they stack up?
Qdoba's street tacos come on a double wrap of small corn tortillas, with shredded beef or pulled pork, cilantro, and red onion. The combo comes with a side of barbecue baked beans for $4.99. (To give a basis for comparison, the regular tacos cost $6.49 for three, and no beans.) In the name of research, we tried the street tacos in both meats, and against both the regular soft and hard tacos that have long been on Qdoba's menu.
The shredded beef tacos were something of a disappointment; the corn tortillas were somewhat tough, the shredded beef was dry to the point of being hard to chew, and had very little flavor; I could see cilantro on the taco, but really couldn't taste any. What flavor there was came from the harsh red onion, which really dominated the taco. (Even Taco Bell did the onion better).
But the pulled pork was another matter altogether. The pork was much juicer, and there was less onion—just enough to serve as a garnish—so the cilantro didn't get drowned out. On these, the corn tortilla soaked up the juice of the pork, which added more flavor and softened the tortillas in a great way.
How do they compare to the regular tacos? First of all, the corn tortillas are far superior to the flour; the flour tortilla has a waxy, almost plastic texture. The pulled pork was just as good, but didn't integrate particularly well with the cheese and lettuce. With the regular taco sauce (here, the Green Medium) I got a lot more heat, but it wasn't as interesting nor refreshing as the red onion and cilantro on the Street Tacos. I thought the street tacos were much better, but they are costlier on a pound for pound basis. Three regular tacos cost more—but you get almost double the food.
All that said, I loved the Hard Tacos; I know, they're hardly traditional, but is that really the point? Their hard taco shells were salty, crisp, and irresistible, like a Tostito wrapped around meat—making it a far better choice than the soft flour tacos.
Though I quite liked the side of beans, they're very, almost eerily sweet; that said, it's nice to have a warm side next to tacos that are essentially room-temperature.
Overall, the Street Tacos are a winner, if you get the pork. As long as they don't lop on too much red onion, the flavors work well together, and the meat-to-tortilla ratio is right on. However, the hungry should be cautious: it's only about 80 percent of a meal.
All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy.