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Chipotle Mexican Grill

buffet king Nov 30, 2006 04:45 PM

What to you like and don't like at Chipotle Mexican Grill? How are their burritos?

  1. DiveFan Jun 15, 2008 10:00 PM

    Tonight I revisited Chipotle courtesy of a 'free taco or burrito' card.
    Not having visited their website to preview my options, I ordered soft chicken tacos (didn't want a premade shell).

    - Meat looked reddish (marinated, covered in rub) - hmmm...
    - Flour tortillas - WTF?
    - Associate explained salsa selection as mild, medium, hot when I could see that these were pico de gallo, tomatillo and tomato based salsas (mild WTF). I choose the medium - good choice, a decent tomatillo + chipotle salsa.
    - Options for lettuce, cheese or sour cream, no thank you. WTF?
    - NO options for minced onion or cilantro. Major WTF!!
    - Condiment bar filled with Tabasco sauce options. Major WTF!!

    Tacos turned out to reasonably tasty after adding onion and cilantro at home. However, gummy soft flour tortillas are just SO WRONG!

    All in all, a major WTF experience.
    Maybe the management will take my comments to heart. Riiiight.

    9 Replies
    1. re: DiveFan
      Sacto_Damkier Jun 15, 2008 11:05 PM

      I have never liked the "cubed" meat at Chipotle; the chicken and steak are diced up unlike the carnitas and barbacoa which are shredded. I would love to see a shredded chicken option - dark meat with guajillos maybe, or even a drunken (tequila/lime) chicken. It sounds like the service was bad, since I can always add anything to any product at the ones I visit.

      Tortillas de harina (a.k.a. flour tortillas) are ubiquitous north of the border and are usually fine. Adding a corn option would be nice for the soft tacos and would probably fit nicely into the steamer. I have not seen onions and cilantro as an option at a Chipotle.

      1. re: DiveFan
        ridgeback Jul 11, 2008 10:02 AM

        "NO options for minced onion or cilantro. Major WTF!!"

        I've never understood why they don't offer fresh chopped onion. It's a total downer.

        1. re: DiveFan
          renabeana Jul 25, 2009 11:00 PM

          you should have opted for the freshly made corn tacos. the soft come from a box. and they don't offer cilantro or diced onions because it is in everything! that they offer

          1. re: renabeana
            Das Ubergeek Jul 26, 2009 07:12 AM

            I haven't been since the promulgation of the new law about calorie counts. Have the portion sizes come down? A burrito used to be ~1400 calories and that's just disgustingly high.

            The onions and cilantro are the usual topping, along with salsas, at a "real" antojitería (snack shop). Lettuce, cheese and sour cream are not usually found.

            1. re: Das Ubergeek
              ferret Jul 26, 2009 04:50 PM

              They make everything to order. You can have them add or omit items of your choosing. You can create a 1400 calorie gutbuster or something substantially less. Just because it's offered doesn't mean it has to be added.

              1. re: ferret
                Das Ubergeek Jul 26, 2009 10:19 PM

                Sure, the same way you can have your Double Whopper with cheese without the cheese or mayo. The default is pretty gutbusting.

                I don't mind Chipotle but I don't go because I have better, faster, cheaper options for Mexican food, that's all.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek
                  ferret Jul 27, 2009 06:30 AM

                  It's not "default" -- it's an additive process. You pick your container (tortilla or paper bowl and add from there in an assembly line process. You have to ask for cheese, sour cream and guacamole if you want them added, so it's hardly like ordering a Double Whopper with cheese.

                  1. re: ferret
                    Das Ubergeek Jul 27, 2009 10:03 AM

                    Then maybe it's changed, because the last time I went I was asked, "With everything?" which sounds like a default.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek
                      ferret Jul 27, 2009 01:40 PM

                      I don't know when or how that happened. Every Chipotle I've been to has a person on the tortilla/bowl/rice/protein station, another on salsas and yet another on lettuce/sour cream/cheese/guac. Unless you're designating an item to be added, they don't just automatically slather it on.

                      In fact, this Chipotle assembly has been co-opted by two other establishments near me. Chutney Joe's does it for Indian food and I Dream of Falafel does it for falafel/shawarma.

        2. Chew on That Apr 18, 2008 09:07 AM

          I used to despise Chipotle but these days I don't mind it. I used to not like burritos so I ordered the tacos there and didn't like them as much as Qdoba's tacos. But now that I've come around to liking burritos, Chipotle makes a darn good one.

          1. d
            dagwood Apr 17, 2008 06:41 PM

            Here's an interesting article about Chipotle. They seem to readily acknowledge that their prices are higher, but with an emphasis on using naturally and humanely raised animals for their menu, it seems to me to be a price worth paying.

            1. f
              fiscuspv Apr 17, 2008 07:47 AM

              What do I like about Chipotle? Taste of the chicken and carnitas, corn salsa is a must, always loads of sour cream, guacomole is one of the best and consitant (made twice daily), use of fresh ingredients, being able to see the cooks cooking, grilling, and braising the meat, interior design of restaurant.

              Things I dislike...portions size, inconsistant wrapped burritos (pools of one ingredient here and there) sometimes unpleasant service staff, Chips are way too salty!!! how do they get the salt to stick? it's crazy!

              2 Replies
              1. re: fiscuspv
                Scargod Apr 18, 2008 01:17 PM

                In Mexico one method is to spray or sprinkle salt water on the tostadas as soon as they come out of the oil. It fuses instantly and water evaporates.

                1. re: fiscuspv
                  renabeana Jul 25, 2009 10:55 PM

                  they squeeze lime juice on the chips and then sprinkle salt on them.

                2. Paul Weller Apr 10, 2008 05:51 PM

                  Chipotle is okay but it's kind of pricey. I can go to one of the 40 taco shops in the area and get a huge ammount of food for the price of a burrito at Chipotle.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Paul Weller
                    ccbweb Apr 10, 2008 07:23 PM

                    Having 40 taco shops rocks. In Charlottesville, VA, there are, perhaps 2 (though I am pretty sure one of them closed) apart from Chipotle and Qdoba. The Chipotle there, though, has gone 100% local with their pork for carnitas....and from an organic, free range farm, nonetheless.

                    1. re: Paul Weller
                      MSPD Apr 11, 2008 10:31 AM

                      Thanks for the laugh Paul!

                      1. re: Paul Weller
                        renabeana Jul 25, 2009 10:54 PM

                        you would think that a 2 pound burrito would be way more than enough for a person. most people can't finish them

                      2. i
                        italiangrl77 Dec 4, 2007 12:05 PM

                        I used to LOVE Chipotle. Their carnitas are delicious. However, in the past few months I have noticed that they serve significantly less than they did when they opened in my area almost a year ago. I usually order a carnitas burrito bowl, with guac of course and I used to get 1 1/2 to 2 scoops of almost everything, including the guac. Now we're lucky to get one full scoop. Unfortunately, I'm hooked but we've stopped going there as frequently as we used to, which is a shame, since I can walk to it from my home. I think the whole novelty of it just opening is why they served so much at first, now that eveyone in the area is hooked (it's usually pretty busy everytime we go in there) they have scaled back a little on their portions. A shame, because we used to go there weekly, if not more. Now, we may go once every couple of months or so. Too bad, since the food is tasty, and the salsa variety is great too. (Try the corn salsa)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: italiangrl77
                          iluvtennis Apr 18, 2008 02:33 PM

                          Yeah, i used to go quite a bit and would get the crispy tacos (an order came with 4)...then i went several months without visiting. I went back and for the same price, an order of crispy tacos now only came with 3.

                          1. re: iluvtennis
                            renabeana Jul 25, 2009 10:53 PM

                            when they switched to three tacos instead of four - the tacos are wider, so they are easier to fit what you want in them. so they still have the same amount - 4 oz of meat, 4 oz salsa etc - its just spread out differently.

                          2. re: italiangrl77
                            renabeana Jul 25, 2009 10:52 PM

                            you can always ask for more. most things come in four ounces (one spoon) - but you can always ask for more of everything (except the meat and guak - thats extra). because of the high food costs of the organic and naturally raised foods they try to watch the portions.

                          3. b
                            Booger Jan 8, 2007 10:43 PM

                            I personally get the Chicken Fajita, with half rice, extra veggies. I do this for taste reasons (I love the peppers and onions), but I expect getting rid of some of that rice helps on the calorie and carb count.

                            1. a
                              anthonyG Dec 5, 2006 05:40 PM

                              I order a Carnitas fajita burrito. Rice, Peppers, onions, a little cheese and sour cream. More then enough to fill me up.

                              I would not call Chipotle Mexican food. People going there expecting "authentic" Mexican food will not be getting that. What people will get is quality, fresh, and tasty food. I really think it is reasonably priced for what you get. The burrito is rather large.....

                              I think they are doing a great job by keeping the menu simple, and the even when there is a very long line, things seem to flow smoothly and the food is delivered quickly.
                              All-in-all I think a great place. It is one of the stops i make sure to take people to when they are visiting from out of town.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: anthonyG
                                amkirkland Dec 5, 2006 09:34 PM

                                I got carnitas today... I normally get the steak. That pork is very good. Juicy, tender and flavorful. Mmmm... It's going to be my standard now for sure.

                                would anyone call even 1 percent of the available "mexican" places out there authentic? I doubt it if you really think about it. This is very fast, natural, tasty, and relatively inexpensive mexican influenced food. Come to think of it, the only thing that most food i've had in mexico had going for it was "authenticity." Other than that I'd prefer something like chipotle at most times. My only chipotle complaint is that I have to practically get on my knees to get a decent serving of the fajita veggies.

                              2. s
                                Sacto_Damkier Dec 2, 2006 08:59 PM

                                I love the carnitas burrito at Chipotle (pinto beans, rice, mild tomato salsa, and sour cream). Chipotle is one of the few nice fast food places around, even though it is the most expensive option; most of that comes from their extensive use of free range and organic ingredients, which I prefer.

                                Ironically, the new drink cups mention the fact that they are regarded as a "chain" (with all negative connotations). Their goal - or marketing campaign - is to avoid the bad things associated with chains. I am sure people can argue that point ad nauseum.

                                When I want real Mexican food (carne asada, tamales, mole), I search out a good "Chowhoundish" place. When I want something tasty and fast, or am with people who would rather avoid above mentioned places, I head to Chipotle.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Sacto_Damkier
                                  Loren3 Dec 5, 2006 03:22 PM

                                  That's the way I look at it. When I lunch alone, or with some of my more adventurous colleagues, it's Tacos Morelos, a local "real" Mexican lunch-line sort of place. When I lunch with my tamer colleagues, it's Chipotle.

                                2. c
                                  ColoradoFun Dec 1, 2006 05:49 PM

                                  FYI they also have nutritional data on the Chipotle website.


                                  I love the barbacoa crispy tacos with just cheese and a little hot salsa.

                                  I think Chipotle is great and one of the healthier chains. They do a great job of serving organic/natural ingrediants when available. I do wish they offered a smaller size burrito.

                                  Not that this is directly relevant to the Chipotle discussion but having traveled around Mexico on several occasions I am never sure what is meant by "authentic Mexican." Mexcico is a large country with diverse regional differences in food.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: ColoradoFun
                                    Sacto_Damkier Dec 2, 2006 09:04 PM

                                    Exactly on point! There are Sonoran, Baja, and Oaxacan styles that can be very different. Most of these real Mexican foods scare off people. Chipotle is more of the AmMex (Americanized Mexican) style with burritos and tacos.

                                  2. Ozumo Dec 1, 2006 05:31 PM

                                    I like the chicken fajita burrito (no beans) with no rice, sour cream and cheese, hot salsa and corn salsa, and sometimes a little lettuce thrown in, too. For a really fast, cheap lunch, it will fill you up, and there's lots of locations in The Bay. Considering it's fast food, I find it to be VERY good quality. Look at what $5 something will get you at McD's/Burger King/Jack in the Box, etc.

                                    1. p
                                      pcwd Dec 1, 2006 04:53 PM

                                      I am the odd person who loves burritos but doesn't eat the beans, so I am more dependent on the flavoring of the rest of the burrito. I don't find them to have much flavor. In particular, I really don't like the rice they use. I love the concept of Chipotle and keep giving it one more try but it just doesn't work for me.

                                      1. s
                                        shauben2007 Dec 1, 2006 04:27 PM

                                        GREAT Carnitas, made from GREAT Niman Ranch Pork.

                                        1. Anonimo Dec 1, 2006 03:50 PM

                                          Why worry so much aboout nutritional details? It's not like you are going to eat a barbacoa burrito fully loaded with cheese, sour cream and guacamole every meal, let alone every day.

                                          If I weren't now eating my home made Sopa de Frijol Negro, with vegetable garnishes and a drizzle of crema, I'd go to town and get a torta de carnitas. (Not at Chipotle grill.)

                                          In general, tacos in Mexico are tiny compared with their US counterparts. You need at least three teeny tacos to make a decent snack. (There ARE some exceptions, as always.)

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Anonimo
                                            amkirkland Dec 1, 2006 05:51 PM

                                            Amen! People need to figure out that almost all food at restaurants is going to be calorie-laden. Burgers at bar/grills can run you up to 1500 just for the burger. Aside from the calories, chipotle does use good ingredients. Besides, those burritos are huge! use some restraint and eat just half. Beans, veggies, lean meat and good fat from avacados are hardly the worst thing going into your body.

                                          2. s
                                            swsidejim Dec 1, 2006 03:35 PM


                                            the worst lunch I have ever had in my 36 years of eating. The food is overpriced(for the low quality)., . The meat(chicken) in the burrito was salty, and lacking any flavor other than salt.. The salsa I tried was bitter, and tasted old/stale.

                                            A place i will never revisit. Luckily I have many choices for authentic mexican food close by.

                                            Its a fast food chain what else needs to be said.

                                            1. s
                                              stacylyn Dec 1, 2006 11:16 AM


                                              And, I thought always getting the soft chicken tacos was healthy. :-)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: stacylyn
                                                Eat_Nopal Dec 1, 2006 03:24 PM

                                                Thanks for the site... I just ran the numbers, yup a Barbacoa plate is 600 calories with quite a bit of fat... but going back to Fiber... 12.5 grams - that will impair absorption of a good chunk of the fat... plus that is very, very high quality protein (fairly lean meat, no grizzle, + fall apart tender means high absorption... undercooked meat has lower protein absorption)

                                              2. Das Ubergeek Dec 1, 2006 06:22 AM

                                                I like it... but ever since I did the nutritional analysis on the lunch I had and came up with 1400 calories, I haven't been back. I know I can remove tortilla (bol-style), cheese, sour cream and guac and it'll be down around 600 calories, but honestly I can do better for lunch... uff da.

                                                1. j
                                                  Janet from Richmond Nov 30, 2006 07:01 PM

                                                  I love the carnitas crunch tacos...with lettuce and a squeeze of lime it's perfect.

                                                  I also love to get a burrito with black beans and gucamole.

                                                  1. b
                                                    buffet king Nov 30, 2006 06:56 PM

                                                    Are you saying that Chipotle's burritos are healthier by removing the flour tortilla, sour cream & cheese? Most people get a burrito because it's in a flour tortilla and easy to eat. Don't the burritos have plenty of sodium?

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: buffet king
                                                      Eat_Nopal Nov 30, 2006 07:06 PM

                                                      Generally all burritos are healthier by removing the flour tortilla & sour cream, but cheese isn't unhealthy so that can remain... except it detracts from the Barbacoa.. culinarily speaking.

                                                      Of course... replacing Flour Tortillas with Triguenas (Whole Wheat Tortillas) or contempoary Low Carb versions is a pretty good way to go... but not an option at Chipotle.

                                                      Okay so most people like Flour Tortilla (for the same reason they like mash potatoes, fried rice & other mediocre starchy foods)... but we are not most people... we are Chowhounds (remember that).

                                                    2. h
                                                      Heatherb Nov 30, 2006 06:06 PM

                                                      I get the salad with Carnitas and black beans and everythign but the guacamole. And then a side of chips to keep it from being too healthy. Gotta scoop up the leftovers with something once the lettuce is gone, after all:-)

                                                      1. chowser Nov 30, 2006 06:01 PM

                                                        I get their chicken or vegetarian salad--like the bowl but with no rice--with the corn salsa.

                                                        1. Eat_Nopal Nov 30, 2006 04:58 PM

                                                          As one of the biggest, most unabashed & confrontational burrito-averse Mexican food snobs in the U.S... I find their Barbacoa Plate (no rice, extra black beans)... with a side of Guacamole & acceptable Roasted Tomatillo salsa to be a very decent Mexican meal... not unlike something I would actually eat in Mexico.

                                                          If they offered a vegetable soup, corn tortillas made on the premises, and a cactus salad, it would be very comparable to eating at a casual neighborhood restaurant in Mexico City.

                                                          For a chain... particularly one run by McCrap... I find Chipotle to be very respectable... in fact even as is, I would often choose it over what I refer to as Spanglish restaurants... places that offer authentic Mexican flavors & ingredients but with Tex-Mex like menus (which is were we typically are in the "Authentic Mexican" offering in California)

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                            monkeyrotica Nov 30, 2006 05:07 PM

                                                            McDonalds is selling its remaining shares in Chipotle. It won't own it anymore come January.


                                                            I also like the barbacoa. I wish they'd publish the nutritional information though. I imagine a fully loaded burrito with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole is pushing the daily recommended dose of fat, calories, and cholesterol. Yet people think that since it's mostly beans and rice it must be healthy.

                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                              Eat_Nopal Nov 30, 2006 05:25 PM

                                                              It looks like Chipotle had already been spun off... which is good, probably a reason for the new chains success.

                                                              My wife is an R.D... and has nutritional analysis software... when we ran it for typical burritos as described... we are talking about 800 calories... 50% calories from fat & lots of cholesterol.

                                                              However, the simple excercise of removing the wheat flour tortilla, cheese & sour cream (which actually detract from the Barbacoa imho)... you arrive at one of the healthiest dishes offered by any eastiblishment... fast food or not.

                                                              The meat is relatively lean & rich in bioavailable protein, vitamins & minerals.

                                                              Beans & Guacamole are soluble fiber super foods & salsas pack a big punch of antioxidants and make a decent vitamin & mineral contribution.

                                                              BTW... Soluble Fiber binds with fat before it makes its way to the colon, impairing its absorption but aiding intestinal health (which is why its considered a super food).

                                                              Consider that soluble fiber is the main thrust of Oatmeal's heart healthy claims... but comparing the meager 3 grams of soluble fiber in Quacker oats with the 13 grams you would get in a typical serving of beans + guacamole... gives you a sense of its value. (Of course beans & guacamole don't have the monopoly profits to fund the research required to get the heart healthy label... but there is plenty of research out there that validates the concept)

                                                              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                a_and_w Dec 1, 2006 05:41 PM

                                                                Eat, thank you for the info re the nutritional value re beans and guac!

                                                              2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                Eat_Nopal Nov 30, 2006 05:27 PM

                                                                Also here is a link to a free nutritional analysis engine... you can use to analyze most things (if you break them down to their basic components... 2 ounce flour tortilla, 4 ounces of slow cooked meat etc.,)


                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                  wleatherette Nov 30, 2006 07:04 PM

                                                                  their 13" tortillas alone have about 350 calories.

                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                    Humbucker Dec 1, 2006 05:14 AM

                                                                    Here's a website that has a Chipotle nutrional info calculator. An average burrito runs 1000+ calories. I used to go to Chipotle a lot, but after coming across this site a couple years ago I stopped cold because I figured I'd rather just eat a real taqueria burrito if it was going to cost me the same calorically.
                                                                    Silly me for thinking Chipotle was somehow, even just a little, easier on the gut in terms of cals.

                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                      tamerlanenj Dec 5, 2006 02:50 PM

                                                                      Well, you can read Qdoba's site to get an idea of how bad those things are. Kind of frightening, actually. 1400 calories in a burrito!

                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                        qwertyy Dec 5, 2006 06:54 PM

                                                                        They do.

                                                                        From their Web site: http://www.chipotle.com/images/nutrit...

                                                                      2. re: Eat_Nopal
                                                                        Scargod Apr 10, 2008 05:15 AM

                                                                        I've never eaten at either but Qdoba Mexican Grill is owned by Jack in the Box.

                                                                      3. weinstein5 Nov 30, 2006 04:51 PM

                                                                        I think for a chain they are fine - I have never had a bad meal at one and I do enjoy their burritos - so I lump this in the category as a good consistent meal no matter where you are - a good reliable standby while travelling

                                                                        if you want authentic mexican I would look elsewhere -

                                                                        1. j
                                                                          JoLi Nov 30, 2006 04:49 PM

                                                                          I like their burrito bowls (burrito with no tortilla), with the chicken. With rice, black beans, corn salsa and lettuce. Healthy and good.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JoLi
                                                                            tamerlanenj Dec 5, 2006 02:50 PM

                                                                            Are you thinking of Qdoba?

                                                                            1. re: tamerlanenj
                                                                              amkirkland Dec 5, 2006 03:06 PM

                                                                              chipotle does the bowl also... but they call it a Bol. who knows. That's what i do. nixing the tortilla saves 330 calories, and you still get a lot to eat.

                                                                              1. re: amkirkland
                                                                                JoLi Dec 5, 2006 03:38 PM

                                                                                Yep, I meant the Bols.

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