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Qdoba?

Just opened a branch in the MD suburbs, Rockville to be exact. What is recommended, if anything? How does it compare to Baja Fresh, or our local California Tortilla? And how do you pronounce it??

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  1. I think it's a step down from Baja Fresh and Chipotle. To me it seems bland.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Janet from Richmond

      I agree. Qdoba is not as good as Baja Burrito (same as Baja Fresh), Chipotle, or Tijuana Flats (Florida chain).

      1. re: starbucksbrew

        I find Qdoba to be superior in taste to Chipotle, personally; especially the chicken mole and the rice. I am, though I'm enamored of Chipotle's buying and sourcing practices.

        I have only eaten at a Qdoba in Virginia....it does very well compared to Baja Fresh also in Virginia in my estimation....but I've also eaten at Baja Fresh in California and there's no comparison. The produce is so superior that Baja Fresh in CA blows away both the Chipotle and Qdoba meals I've had back East. Of course, it also blows away the Baja Fresh back East, too.

        If I'm in Virginia, though, I'm going with Qdoba.

    2. There's one down the block from where I work.

      Good for a quick bite.

      I actually think it's a bit better than Baja Fresh. Burritos are good, esp. the chicken mole.

      It's funny, but they are owned by Jack in the Box.

      15 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I agree its better than BF, but then what isn't? It's not as good as Rubio's. Ipsedixit, do you go to the one at 7th and Hope?

        1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

          Yup.

          And during lunch time, it can get quite crowded.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            So far, I've always been able to find a seat, but barely. Which is much better than La Salsa at 5th and Grand!

            1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

              Ipse? It sounds like a Hungarian word.

            2. re: ipsedixit

              Ipse, not to hijack the thread, but are there any good traditional Mexican places in the vicinity that are open for lunch?

              1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                There is, but it really depends on your definition of "in the vicinity."

                One place I really like is EL ANTOJITO, which is on Broadway and 8th St., just a bit south of the Jewelry District.

                I always go for the sopes. They make them fresh to-order (with fresh masa!), smeared with refried beans, topped with melted cheese and covered with chorizos. Messy, but good and only $2.

                Qdoba, BF, Rubios ain't got nothing on these guys.

                Call ahead and they'll have your order ready when you arrive, either to eat-in or take-out.

                Heck, I might go right now ...

                El Antojito
                824 South Broadway
                (213) 688-0885

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Well, I'm at Sixth and Olive which is close enough for me, but I took an early lunch today. Can you get them with something else istead of chorizos? I'm not a fan. Otherwise that sounds great.

                  1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                    You can get it with beef, chicken or chorizos, or just refried beans, cheese and guacamole.

                    They also have great tacos, burritos not so much IMO. But give it try and see for yourself.

                    Owners are very friendly - so just ask if there is something you want but don't see.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      ipse, I think I'm gonna go today you want to meet up?

                      1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                        Would love to, but I have a lunch meeting today.

                        Sorry, perhaps some other time.

                        Enjoy yourself and report back.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Well, it's a bit of a shlep at lunchtime, but well worth it. I did't order ahead because I wanted to be sure I could find it(and it's tiny - I'd call it "half a hole in the wall"). I ordered 2 sopes and 2 tacos ala carte, and they gave me samples of the cantaloupe and watermelon juice while waiting. They didn't put any melted cheese on the sopes, though - maybe you have to ask? Anyway, very good! I'll definitely go again.

                          1. re: calabasas_trafalgar

                            Yup, tell them exactly what you want on it.

                            What kind of sopes/tacos did you end up getting?

                            Glad you enjoyed it.

                            Regarding the shlep ... better to work off all that good eatin' ...

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Beef/beef with guacamole on the sopes and verde on the tacos.

            3. re: calabasas_trafalgar

              BF is nothing great but way better than Rubio's, IMO

              1. re: honkman

                I disagree completely. Love Rubio's, would't go back to Baja Stale without a gun in my back...

          2. I agree with Janet that it's bland. It's pronounced Kew-Doba.

            1. I don't think it's that bad, actually. I've only tried an unadventurous chicken burrito, though. The rice they use isn't the yellow rice you might normally see, but white, and it has a slight lime flavor I think is appealing.

              1. I usually get a naked chicken mole burrito from there because I don't like the gummy flour tortillas that those type of places have. The tortilla soup is one of the better things on the menu at Qdoba. The spicy and extra spicy salsas are pretty hot. Needs to expand their menu to include pork.

                6 Replies
                1. re: Chimayo Joe

                  Second the tortilla soup. A little bit spicy and a surprisingly complex set of flavors.

                  In general, I've had better luck at Qdoba sticking to the basics. The chicken is nicely seasoned, the salsas are fresh and adequate (if not stellar).

                  My biggest gripe with Qdoba (and Baja and Chipotle) is that the tortillas are just plain bad (bland and yes, gummy). You'd think that even an Americanized Mex place would make it a priority to have great tortillas (Taco Cabana, for instance), but it seems to be perennially overlooked.

                  I know that the two big selling points of Fresh Mex are (1) reasonably cheap and (2) reasonably healthy, but I'd gladly pay an extra buck or accept an extra few grams of sat fat for a tortilla with some flavor.

                  1. re: finlero

                    I find that while the Taco Cabana type tortillas are great, they're not very authentic in terms of texture.

                    1. re: amkirkland

                      If you mean authentic as in "just like you'd find in Mexico", you're probably right. That said, it seems to me that *none* of the chains in this thread are aiming for authentic insomuch as Fresh Mex or Tex-Mex.

                      FWIW, a Hispanic friend of mine living in New Mexico waxes ecstatic about her grandmother's preferred tortilla recipe: flour, water, and (wait for it...) Bisquick.

                      1. re: finlero

                        I always hate to be the one to throw out the "authentic" card. I think what someone likes it what is right. I buy Taco Cabana and Don Pablo's tortillas by the dozen, especially for fajitas, but I also like the kind the fresh mex places use for such an application.

                    2. re: finlero

                      You could forgo the tortilla all together and get what they call the "naked burrito" ...

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Yeah, I could, but I seldom do. I'm more of the "complain-about-it-but-order-it-all-the-time" school of thought. Even if the tortilla isn't so great, I miss it when I don't get it.

                  2. I've always found it to be bland. I would go with one of the other chains, like chipotle and baja fresh over Qdoba (I've always said kyew-doba, not sure if I've heard that from an official source though). I can only assume that anything local will beat it though.

                    1. I'm with the Baja Fresh prefer-ers...don't care for Qdoba at all. I'm in agreement about bland...and dry.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: nancyhudson

                        I've only been to BF once, but I really enjoyed the tortilla. It had the crisp/chewy thing going on that I'm used to at my local tacquerias.

                        1. re: nancyhudson

                          We pronounce it Ka-DOH-ba.

                          I think the Chicken Mole burrito is good - but it's sooo big. It's what my husband gets. My kids like it. I prefer BF, not least because of the salsa bar, which my Qdoba doesn't have.

                        2. I actually like Q a lot. But it is so similar to Chipotle. The chicken mole is the thing to get, much better than anything at Chipotle. I do prefer BF, but it is like comparing apples and oranges. Also, I like it better than CT.

                          1. Lately all of the big burrito chains seem to have popped up around here (Seattle area.) It used to be just Taco Del Mar (a regional chain) in the area, but Qdoba and Baja Fresh moved in just around the same time, with a Chipotle opening nearby shortly afterward. Of these, here are my thoughts:

                            Taco Del Mar: I don't eat here much anymore. When there weren't a lot of other choices around i was here quite often, but their product just isn't as high quality as the others. They use braised, shredded chicken instead of grilled, and ground beef (they recently added shredded beef to the menu though, probably in response to the competition.) The burritos are also quite messy to eat.

                            Qdoba is the most convenient to get to from where I work, and I usually get either the Chicken Mole burrito or nachos (the Fajita Classica burrito with chicken is pretty good too, although I don't get it as often.) Some people complain about the texture of their tortillas, but I actually much prefer these tortillas over the others. Their grilled chicken is also the best of these four places.

                            Baja Fresh has what is probably my favorite of the big burritos around here, a Bean and Cheese with chicken, served enchilado style. I don't get these quite as often as the others as it tends to get a bit more expensive than the other places. It's also a "sit-down" item, rather than something you'd get to go. To be honest, I don't think these would be quite as good without the enchilado sauce. The salsas (with the exception of the Habanero version) are also a bit weak for my liking in terms of spiciness.

                            Chipotle has only recently showed up around here, and I've only been there a couple of times. The burritos I've had have been pretty good though, with a decently spicy salsa. The menu is a bit thin on options though, and (for me at least) it's a bit inconvenient to get to.

                            Of these choices, I'd have to give a (slight) preference to Qdoba, although Baja Fresh is good too. I just wish these places would have some salsa options between their wimpy "Medium" offerings and their Habanero sauce of Doom.

                            1. Back when I was working in Nashville, a Qdoba opened up across the street from my office (along the West End edge of the Vandy campus), in a space that had previously been occupied by Pizza Hut. I had long since established the nearby Chez Jose as my lunchtime burrito fix, but was willing to give Qdoba a shot simply based on the fact that I no longer had to stare at a Pizza Hut sign anymore, and figured Tommy Qdoba deserved credit via patronage.

                              It was instantly apparent during my inaugural visit that I should have waited a few weeks. My burrito sat in the not-quite-finished conga line for about 15 minutes before it finally got salsaed, cheesed, and wrapped -- and those 15 minutes pretty much killed it. The thing sucked frijoles.

                              My second visit was a few months down the road, and I decided to go the taco salad route, ultimately never sampling a Qdoba burrito again (the assembly line had clearly picked up the pace by my return, I just had no interest).

                              I dug their taco salads quite a bit -- to the point that I would even walk over to Qdoba during Caterpillar Financial's much-anticipated and mass-celebrated Taco Salad Day (otherwise known as "The Only Day You'll Have to Wait in Line for Food"). As I recall, Qdoba would drop in romaine, choice-o-meat, a bean and corn salsa, a ranch-ish dressing, sour cream, and a salsa. Getting the hot salsa was key, as it was fairly tasty, had a genuine kick to it, and slowly merged with the sour cream and dressing to form a coating of sorts that often resulted in total consumption of the shell.

                              And total consumption is what it's all about, folks.

                              1. In the interest of providing up-to-date information, I went to Taco Del Mar for lunch today, and found myself disappointed overall. The burritos are still OK and haven't changed much (the shredded beef is OK, but Chipotle's is better,) but remain messy and hard to eat. The included chips and queso was thoroughly disappointing though. The chips came straight from a bag, and the queso straight from a can, and pretty much constituted a waste of perfectly good calories.

                                1. I've never eaten at Chipotle or Baja Fresh, but I do enjoy Q'Doba. I always get the chicken taco salad with cheese and sour cream and 2 salsas - pico and corn. It's my go-to weekend lunch when I'm out shopping.

                                  1. I love Qdoba!! I'm from the Chicago suburbs and it's rival here is Chipotle. I love their chicken tacos with salsa verde and sour cream. I'm pretty sure you pronounce it "Ki-doh-bah" but I've heard some people pronounce it "Kyoodohbah"

                                    Definitely check it out!

                                    1. I like Qdoba too! The best combos I've had are the vegetarian burrito with queso: melted spicy cheese(good, not cheez wizzy really), with rice, pinto beans, guacomole, mexican sour cream, and tomatillo salsa. i don't like the looks of their meat so much, but this combo is very good. ok, let's say better than any "cal-mex" i've had from any other burrito chain.