Every time Taco Bell graces the world with a new promo item, it’s like a little mini Christmas for me. I wake up early in the morning, put on my footie pajamas (or work clothes, whatever) and drive towards that familiar purple and orange glow. And it’s not because I particularly like eating 900 calories of spicy ground meat and liquidy cheese for breakfast, but because Taco Bell is a proving ground for culinary innovation. Yeah, seriously.
Trois Familia’s double-decker taco? It became permanent fixture on Taco Bell menu boards in 2006. That Fuku Finger Crunchy Wrap that Danny Bowien and David Chang made? Totally modeled after TB’s failed early 2015 promo item the Chickstar (R.I.P.). So, when the Boss Wraps—a version of the Crunchwrap Supreme filled with steak; because, y’know, bosses eat steak?—finally went nationwide I brought some into the L.A. mag office to conduct a super scientific taste test. Check out what everyone had to say.
Steak and Potato Boss Wrap (860-870 cal)
Double portion of steak, crispy potatoes, chipotle sauce bacon, and a 3 cheese blend wrapped in a handheld tortilla.
Food editor Lesley Bargar Suter: I want to hate this, but I cannot. Honestly, blindfolded you could tell me this was some new brunch dish from, say, Bar Ama (which I LOVE, by the way) and I’d believe you—minus the tortilla of course. Texturally it’s got everything going for it: crispy smashed potato nuggets, actual hunks of steak-like-product, chewy bits of bacon. There’s a lingering smoky savoriness, too, that is in no way natural but in every way craveable. Do I feel good about myself for actually liking this? No, no I don’t. But do I sort of want to hide in the bathroom and finish it? Ding ding ding!
Associate food editor Josh Scherer: This made way more sense in your mouth than it had any right to. It’s crispy, it’s smoky, it’s not super dry because of all that deliciously orange mayonnaise. You have to give Taco Bell major props for combining steak, breakfast meats, and mayonnaise inside a system of tortillas and making it work—not only flavor-wise, but also marketing-wise. What if it had been called the “Mayo ‘n’ Breakfast Meat Boss Wrap?” But, it wasn’t, and now I want to eat it all the time.
Associate editor Kari Mozena: Nice little burn when eating. Mayo and hot sauce? Secret sauce is a bit burgery (but I’m not a super mayo fan, there’s a bit of an ick factor). Nice crunch from the bacon’tatoes, and it’s hearty! Which is always my problem with Taco Bell. Remember that lady that sued because the meat wasn’t exactly meat? I always wondered why I was hungry after eating my Nachos Bell Grande. This has meat—the kind that comes in strips! Huzzah! Skip mayo sauce.
Fully Loaded Steak Boss Wrap (750-760 cal)
Double portion of steak, guacamole, pico de gallo, avocado ranch sauce, and a 3 cheese blend wrapped in a handheld tortilla.
Food editor Lesley Bargar Suter: Now, this one is brimming with essence of Taco Bell. It has that faux-fresh guacamole- sour cream-flavorless tomato thing going on that’s unmistakably the taste of a border run. The fact that this is actual steak—or so they say—is not contributing much beyond the usual Bell formula. I suppose you could tell yourself this one is healthier or something because it has some iceberg, but I would dare to say this isn’t fully loaded with anything but disappointment.
Associate food editor Josh Scherer: Stick to the basics Taco Bell! Don’t get cute and try to make real foods like pico de gallo and guacamole—I can go to any taco shop around L.A. if I want that. You know what I can’t get? Velvety liquid cheese and delicious soupy beef and some creamy mixture called Volcano sauce, all of which are absent from the Boss Wrap. The avocado ranch gives it a nice mayonnaise-y touch, but there’s just too much of that chemical green-ness from the guac and flavorless tomatoes to really make it pleasant.
Associate editor Kari Mozena: Nice with lettuce and cheese. Again, mayo-y sauce but better. I don’t like drippy as I am always eating in the car and drippy messes up clothes. Pretty hearty too. No burn if you don’t put hot sauce on. Seems lighter. HA! Prefer this one. Weird sauce on the other a bit of a turnoff but I would order either one but this one first.