Taco Bell released a new taco that focuses on a freshly fried shell, that doesn’t melt. We took a look to see how it worked out.

Taco Bell’s website describes the Cantina Crispy Melt Taco like this:

A white-corn shell, freshly fried daily, with a melted layer of our three-cheese blend and nacho cheese sauce and filled with seasoned beef, reduced-fat sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes and real shredded cheddar cheese.

Not to sound like a fast food review mogul, but when I was at the Taco Bell HQ for the Doritos Locos Taco unveiling, the executives spoke of the intense amount of research and money they had spent on making sure that their taco shells don’t melt from the beef heat on your ride home. For the first few years following the DLT release, I always noticed how the shell always seemed to hold up.

Recently though, however, I’ve been crestfallen with bitter disappointment and sadness over the disheartening level of durability the shells have shown. All too often, upon unwrapping my “hard” shell tacos from the Bell, the bottom of the shells has been mushed through from the shredded beef lava.

One can only assume that costs have been cut and budgets slashed, so we’re all just left to learn to live with our taco shells melting into three pieces. Enter the Cantina Crispy Melt Taco that features a white corn shell that is freshly made daily. While it doesn’t highlight the strength of the shell, Taco Bell clearly decided to test its strength by piling in a layer of warm nacho cheese on the base of the shell followed by the layer of beef we’re used to.

Other than the fresh white corn shell and the layer of nacho cheese blended with a three cheese shredded ensemble, the remainder of this product is identical to a supreme taco with seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and standard shredded cheddar cheese.

When unfurling the “melt Taco” from the wrapper, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the shell wasn’t compromised. Maintaining structural integrity is one of the simplest accomplishments a taco can attain, but these are tough times, so we’ll celebrate simple victories.

The shell definitely had a homemade and genuine taste and crisp texture. Think more like a semi fast casual sit down Mexican quality, compared to the typical drive thru binge quality we’ve accustomed ourselves to. Other than the shell, the taco was a warm and cheesy pleasant surprise. Combining nacho cheese sauce, alongside dueling shredded cheeses created a very savory taste, and with the shell not coming undone it wasn’t the mess one would assume.

While the genuine and rather authentic tasting shell was the winner here, the rest of the Cantina Crispy Melt Taco was solid enough for me to recommend getting. While I’m assuming this shell is too expensive to produce and won’t ever take over as the default shell, we can all dream and hope.

Taco Bell Cantina Crispy Melt Taco: 7/10