We Tried Qdoba's New QuesaBirria Burrito And Quesadilla. They Bring New Meaning To The Word Filling

At the time of this writing, we are ... stuffed. Just utterly unhungry, if that's a word you'll allow. Satisfied, yes, but just a bit beyond that, really. What's the cause of this stuffing? Qdoba's new QuesaBirria Burrito and QuesaBirria Quesadilla, both of which we just consumed half of. To be clear, we ate half of the burrito and half of the quesadilla — the equivalent of one whole menu item. There's no chance we'll be hungry again for hours. And that's true even though we managed to stop after dipping only four chips into the delightful queso we also ordered. (Okay, maybe six or seven chips, but we heroically did not eat the entire bag nor did we finish the queso. Later today? Well ... we'll see. We won't be this stuffed forever, after all.)

Keep all of that in mind when you consider whether to get a side with your QuesaBirria order — you really don't need it. Now, do you need to try these newest items from Qdoba Mexican Eats, a chain of fast-casual eateries with 730-plus locations that may well soon give Chipotle, with its 3,050-plus locations, a run for its money? Yes, if you like big, hearty, satisfying foods. And yes, if you like foods that beautifully balance a number of classic ingredients, like pico de gallo, cilantro rice, beans, and queso. But hey, if you hate being full and sated after eating, then by all means pass on these new eats and move along.

What's in Qdoba's new QuesaBirria Burritos and Quesadillas?

What's in these newest additions to the Qdoba menu? A lot. As in a large volume of food. As for the specifics, there are some shared ingredients and a few that are unique to either the burrito or the quesadilla. Let's first talk about what they have in common. These eats are named for the Brisket Birria that is the star ingredient here. Per a press release Qdoba sent out via PR Newswire, they consist of "tender, shredded beef brisket slow cooked for 10 hours in chiles and garlic." (And yeah, by the way, no one is playing loose and free with the word "tender" here. It really, really is!) Both menu items feature a flour tortilla exterior (though you can swap in a whole-wheat tortilla), and both feature three-cheese queso and pico de gallo.

The burrito also comes with shredded cheese, cilantro rice (though you can opt for half or all brown rice, as well), beans (you can choose black, pinto, or half and half), and a medium spicy salsa. The QuesaBirria Quesadilla comes with sides of guacamole and sour cream, and we highly advise the generous application of both. (And maybe some hot sauce, too, but that's just us — we put hot sauce on pretty much everything.) In both cases, you can leave out many of the ingredients as you wish for dietary reasons, but we recommend you don't unless needed.

How much do the QuesaBirria items from Qdoba cost?

The new QuesaBirria Quesadilla and QuesaBirria Burrito are an entirely fair price, if you want our two cents on the matter. Or rather, our $11.25 because that's the current price of each of Qdoba's newest menu items. Add a drink, some chips, and a side of queso, and you'll be looking at $15.80. (But seriously, we strongly recommend you pass on any additional foodstuffs here — in fact, even a caloric drink is unadvisable. Want a recommendation there? We went with a bottle of sparkling Richard's Rainwater.)

Now, why do we say this is a fair menu price for these new items when, after all, paying more than 11 bucks for one foodstuff is pretty steep? It's all about the marketplace. Let's use Chipotle, arguably Qdoba's lead competitor out there, as our basis for comparison. Right now, Chipotle's menu prices are $11.20 for a steak burrito and $11.75 for a steak quesadilla. So when you average those prices together, Qdoba has Chipotle beaten. (And when you consider Chipotle's new Garlic Guajillo Steak Quesadilla or its Garlic Guajillo Steak Burrito, those items sell for $13.50 and $12.95, respectively — and they are arguably an even better comp for the QuesaBirria menu items. So by that rationale, Qdoba is the clear winner in terms of price.) Also, $11.25 plus tax really isn't too steep of a price for a meal that is more than satisfying.

Are the new QuesaBirria Burrito and QuesaBirria Quesadilla temporary menu items?

As of now, we have no indication that these newest menu additions are temporary, so don't worry if you can't hurry out to a Qdoba right away to try a QuesaBirria Quesadilla or a QuesaBirria Burrito. According to Qdoba's telling of the "origin story" of these new menu options, they were a long time in development, so we're not surprised that they are sticking around for the long haul. The company's press release refers to the fact that birria is a hot trend in the food world in general right now, and one that Qdoba took the time to explore carefully. Per that press release, Qdoba's executive chef Katy Velazquez traveled across Mexico, trying different takes on Mexican brisket, with the best examples she found being "authentic and delicious flavors of Mexican street food."

One thing we will say is even if the new burrito and quesadilla are around for a long while, it would not surprise us if that $11.25 price is not so permanent. Mark our words (especially in case we're right!), but it's quite likely that we'll see higher prices on the QuesaBirria menu items in the future.

How do the new QuesaBirria menu items compare to other foods from Qdoba?

The newest Qdoba items feel right at home on the restaurant chain's menu. Hardly a curve ball, like when burger joint Smashburger began offering chicken wings (which was a curve ball we enjoyed, by the way), the QuesaBirria burrito and quesadilla seem like an entirely logical next step for Qdoba. They join a menu that already features four pre-fab burritos, if you will — the Southwest Steak, the Chicken Queso, the Cholula Hot & Sweet Chicken, and the Impossible Fajita burritos — along with a "Create Your Own Burrito" option. As for the quesadillas already on offer, there is a Smoky Chicken Cheese-Crusted Quesadilla and a Steak Fajita Quesadilla, along with a few DIY options.

The rest of the Qdoba menu consists of bowls, salads, tacos (soft-shelled street-style tacos, of course), chips, sides, kids meals, beverages, and desserts. It's a complete menu — a bit more expansive but ultimately quite comparable to the menu at, you guessed it, Chipotle — but not one that's going to overwhelm the first-time guest. So don't be nervous about trying Qdoba nor about making a QuesaBirria burrito or quesadilla your first Qdoba order. It will all work out fine.

What's the nutrition info for Qdoba's new QuesaBirria menu items?

Okay, so when we started writing this review an hour or so ago, we had finished eating half of our QuesaBirria Quesadilla and half of our QuesaBirria Burrito about 10 minutes prior. Remember how stuffed we were? Well, an hour on, and little has changed. For a hint as to why, let's first look at the nutrition information. These menu items are actually too new to have been added to Qdoba's Nutrition Facts pages yet, though, so we're going to go with the closest comps we have. To do that, for the burrito, we're using the stats for the chain's Southwest Steak Burrito. That packs in 1,060 calories, 37 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 2,170 milligrams of sodium, and 48 grams of protein.

Now, for the comparison item for the quesadilla, we're going with Qdoba's Steak Fajita Quesadilla. That behemoth has 1,100 calories, 65 grams of fat,  31 grams of saturated fat, 2,180 milligrams of sodium, and 62 grams of protein. Going simply off the calories and protein alone here, and especially in the latter case, it's little wonder why these eats are so filling. And when we factor in the fat stats and salt of it all, it's clearly a good idea to enjoy the new QuesaBirria menu items only on occasion, even as tasty as they may be. And hey, it's finally time to talk about that!

Did we enjoy the new QuesaBirria Burrito and QuesaBirria Quesadilla from Qdoba?

Did we enjoy Qdoba's QuesaBirria Burrito and QuesaBirria Quesadilla? Yes, very much. Too much, as has been made all too clear by now. Each one is so good you'll eat it much too quickly to realize you probably should have stopped four gulper eel-sized bites ago. In the name of journalism, we took those bites and then some so we could share the details with you. Let's talk about the burrito first. It's as heavy and dense as any burrito you'll ever wrap your hands around. When you sink your teeth in, it holds that density well, keeping its shape until the last few bites. The queso and melted cheese help fuse everything together while adding some tanginess. The pico de gallo and salsa bring spice without heat. The beans (black in ours) don't add much flavor but do have a nice texture, as does the rice, which has a nice herby note. But, of course, the major player here is the meat. You can very much taste that rich, savory beef.

As for the quesadilla, its fewer ingredients let the meat shine even more, both in terms of its tender texture and its spiced flavors. You can really enjoy the three-cheese queso more here, too, as it's not competing against other ingredients. Pressed to choose, we'd first recommend the quesadilla because it really does let the brisket shine, but both QuesaBirria menu items are worth your $11.25.