Life

We Tried Taco Bell’s Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito And Nacho Fries So You Don’t Have To

Taco Bell has answered our call and brought back its delicious Nacho Fries. We love these things. They’re crispy, crunchy, and some of the best-seasoned fries you can order from a drive-thru in all of fast food. So whatever else Taco Bell concocts with them, we figured, we’re in.

So what are we eating today? The “Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito.” No, I’m not having a stroke. My brain didn’t just malfunction and starting spewing out random modifiers, that’s the actual name. Yep, ranch in a burrito. Only at fucking Taco Bell, man.

Okay, so the Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito (worst name ever) is essentially Taco Bell’s version of a California burrito — a wonderful medley of flavors combining char-grilled carne asada with crispy French fries, melty Monterey Jack cheese, creamy guacamole, and cool sour cream. Only… you know, Bell-ified.

They’ve traded the guacamole for tomatoes (for an easy hack, add the guacamole back in) and the jack for their salty sharp cheddar cheese, which they then double up with even saltier nacho cheese sauce. Doubling down on the doubling down theme, they marry the sour cream with a healthy dose of stinky White Hot Ranch, Taco Bell’s new spicy take on ranch dressing.

In what must be their attempt at another SoCal Mexican food favorite, carne asada fries, the item is also available as a Nacho Fry platter, dubbed the “Steak White Hot Ranch Fries” (seriously, who named these?). Which features all of the same ingredients except for — as you might have guessed by the name — the burrito. Both preparations are joining the menu for a limited time, after a successful test run in Chicago last year.

Over in the Windy City they love ’em, but here in California we’re kind of, you know, the capital of California Burritos, so it might be hard to win us over. Especially with ranch. But hey, if anyone can take something that sounds disgusting and make it disgustingly delicious, it’s Taco Bell.

Taco Bell — Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito

Hot Fries
Dane Rivera

No shade to the Chi but… this burrito is awful. Okay, let me rephrase that, this burrito is entirely contingent on how much you like ranch dressing. If you like ranch dressing, this burrito might, at its best moments, make for an interesting curiosity. If you hate ranch dressing, this burrito is only going to make that hate grow stronger.

Let’s talk about the sauce first, since that’s the only part of this burrito that’s really new or novel. It’s hot. It doesn’t have that cool and refreshing quality that buttermilk ranch has. Instead it hits you with a sharp tang that ignites your taste buds, leaving you with a pronounced and lingering burn. I like the heat level a lot, it’s surprising and probably the hottest sauce I’ve ever tasted from Taco Bell, but kind of curdles when mixed with the flavors and aroma of flour tortilla,. In fact it’s kind of putrid.

I know that seems like an overly harsh way of describing it, but truly, it tastes like something that’s going bad; like something you’re not supposed to eat. Like poison. White Hot Ranch aside, the rest of the burrito isn’t great either.

The fries provide the most flavor — a nice mix of paprika, salt, onion, and garlic with the smallest hint of cayenne pepper. But the steak is rubbery (do they steam this shit?), the cheese is too salty, the sour cream isn’t noticeable, and the tomatoes are fine, but guacamole would be better.

The fries also get too steamy in this thick and gummy tortilla, causing them to turn to mush about halfway through your burrito, losing all that crispy texture they were meant to provide in the first place.

Which brings us to… Don’t order the burrito, order the platter version. Trust us.

Taco Bell — Steak White Hot Ranch Fries

Hot Fries
Dane Rivera

The Steak White Hot Ranch Fri — okay, seriously, how many people’s orders have been ruined because of the way these two separate items are named? All the person taking your order has to mishear is the word “burrito” for you to get the wrong thing. What if you want an order of the Steak White Hot Ranch Fries and a Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito? Why not just call it the White Hot Ranch Burrito and the White Hot Ranch Fries? I can’t be the only one who is bothered by what these things are called. Right? Right?!

Phew. Moving on, the Steak White Hot Ranch Fries (if that’s the name, I’m going to use it) is an improvement on the Steak White Hot Ranch Fries Burrito. By not wrapping this dish in Taco Bell’s thick flour tortilla, the fries retain their crispiness and each ingredient can really stand out. The ratio of steak-to-cheese-to-fries-to-tomato-to-sauce provides a better showcase for all of the flavors involved here; it’s just a better construction for this dish.

The only problem is, you aren’t guaranteed that perfect ratio with every forkful, you kind of have to hunt for it. Eventually, you will hit a point where you’re eating just fries, but luckily the fries are good enough to make that a satisfying experience.

Each (perfect) forkful is a bouquet of salty savory flavors, all wrapped together in a sizzling and spicy finish. The only real issue is that steak. Taco Bell does offers a veggie version of this dish, replacing the steak with black beans. I kid you not, it’s listed on the Taco Bell promotional menu at the drive-thru as “Steak White Hot Ranch Fries (veggie).”

I tried to order the black bean version for this review. I even simplified the name for them, asking for “Veggie White Hot Ranch Fries with black beans.” I threw “veggie” and “black beans” in there just to to be thorough. I still ended up getting the steak version, and no one will ever be able to convince me that way Taco Bell named this isn’t the reason why.

Bottom Line:

Your life will be better if you never try Taco Bell’s Frankenstein twist on the California Burrito (which in many places can be had for not much more than the Taco Bell version). But if you’re interested in some tasty spicy ranch and love Taco Bell’s fries, the Steak White Hot Ranch Fries are a definite winner.

Find your nearest Taco Bell here.

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