The Washington Post

Taco Bell goes upscale with house-made fusion tacos (lobsters, too)

U.S. Taco Co. opened its first location in Huntington Beach, California on Monday, August 11. (U.S. Taco Co.)
U.S. Taco Co. opened its first location in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Monday. (U.S. Taco Co.)

Next to the pier in Huntington Beach, Calif., is a taco place where you can order lobster, brisket with tacos and milkshakes. Behind this new fast-casual venue is none other than Taco Bell, which launched U.S. Taco Co. on Monday to take tacos  to a foodier edge. First, let’s take a look at the menu:

  • The 1%Er: Flatbread with lobster and garlic butter – slaw.
The 1%ER: Flatbread with lobster, garlic butter - slaw, roasted poblano creama, and cilantro.
The 1%Er (U.S. Taco Co.)
  • Friggen Fried Ice Cream: Vanilla ice cream with caramel and cinnamon toast crunch
Friggen Fried Ice Cream, made with Vanilla Ice Cream, Caramel and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. (U.S. Taco Co.)
Friggen Fried Ice Cream (U.S. Taco Co.)
  • Not My First Rodeo: Tortilla with smoked brisket, molcajete salsa slaw, pickled onions and cilantro
Not My First Rodeo (U.S. Taco Co.)
Not My First Rodeo (U.S. Taco Co.)
  • Roasted Chili Queso with Papa’s Fritas
Queso with Papas Fritas
Roasted Chili Queso with Papa’s Fritas (U.S. Taco Co.)
  • Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Tortilla with crispy chicken, jalapeño southern gravy and roasted corn pico de gallo.
Winner Winner
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (U.S. Taco Co.)

The idea behind the launch of the first U.S. Taco Co. came from Jeff Jenkins, who, after conducting a dining survey with Taco Bell, found that people from certain demographic simply don’t eat at fast-food restaurants, the Los Angeles Times reports. Jenkins and his team decided to open a fast-casual taco place that targets people who favor restaurants like Chipotle.

Taco Bell funded an eating tour for Jenkins and Rene Pisciotti, executive chef of U.S. Taco Co. They then decided to take their favorite American meals and turn them into tacos, eventually creating a menu inspired by Philly cheese steaks, lobster rolls and Southern fried chicken.

“It’s food truck food you don’t have to chase,” Jenkins told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s playful, it’s different, it’s not about creating the next chain concept.”

All ingredients are either house-made, sourced from the same supplier used by Taco Bell, or come from where they were inspired, such as the brisket for the “Not My First Rodeo,” which comes from Texas, Pisciotti told the Food Beast. 

U.S. Taco Co. has 10 6-inch tacos on the menu, all priced between $3.25 and $3.75, except the taco with lobster  — “The 1%Er” will cost you $9.90. All desserts are $4 each.



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Dina ElBoghdady · August 11, 2014