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Chipotle....What's Good Here?

Swung by for the first time and went generic:

Chicken burrito, rice, black, salsa, cheese.

I will admit the chicken was excellent, but overall, I was not impressed with the burrito. The overall flavor seemed comparable to regular burrito joints or taco trucks.

I figure I just got the wrong combo or missed a sauce or something. So what's best to get here in the future to have a really great burrito?

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  1. Chipotle has a lot of haters on this board, so I am sure they will pipe up soon. So I wanted to post before that happens.

    But I really like the place. It's not Mexican food by any stretch, but just a good, solid "Americanized" version.

    That said, I get the bowl. Those tortillas have an insane amount of calories and not much flavor. I get the rice, pinto beans (that's key because they are cooked in pork and you can totally taste it.), roasted corn salsa, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.

    If I feel like eating meat, I get the chicken. But that's rare.

    The roasted corn salsa is amazing and that flavor combined with the porkiness of the beans is what keeps me coming back.

    1. I like carnitas with corn salsa. Everything else there is kind of meh to me.

      1. My usual order from Chipotle is a carnitas bowl with black beans or pintos, pico de gallo, green salsa, and cheese. Their guacamole is pretty decent for a fast food joint, too. If I don't get a carnitas bowl, I get a barbacoa bowl.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Chimayo Joe

          It's the barbacoa and green salsa for me, too. The problem with this place, aside from authenticity (or lack thereof), is that they stuff too much rice and beans in the burrito with very little meat which is how they make their money.

          1. re: mucho gordo

            Just ask for less rice and beans. I always tell them I want half the normal amount. You can also get double meat for like a buck fifty.

            1. re: twyst

              Wherever I get a burrito, it's always "meat and hot sauce only"l no beans, rice or other filler to overpower the meat flavor.

            2. re: mucho gordo

              You're just now figuring out what burritos are about? They don't operate any differently than any other burrito joint. As for stuffing "too much" of anything in a product that's made while you watch -- speak up.

              1. re: ferret

                I know they don't, ferret. See my response to twyst above.

          2. I watch carefully while they are stuffing my grilled chicken burrito.

            Chicken, I don't get extra. I nicely ask them to let the black beans drain, because the burrito gets soggy. Then I get rice (normal amount), I get the pico de gallo (not sure that's the correct name, but it's the chunky salsa. I love the corn on it and lettuce. I just get a sprinkle of cheese. That's it.

            1. I am not a Chipotle 'hater' but our local branch is really skimping on the rice and beans lately and the last 2 times I went the 'bowl' was barely full and was mostly sour cream. Even standing on line and watching what they put in the bowl didn't really help, almost all of us were asking for more rice and beans as the server really didn't put more than a tablespoon of either into people's burritos or bowls.

              1 Reply
              1. re: smartie

                With sour cream being more expensive than either rice or beans, someone needed a little more training.

              2. There's one of these near work so I get it for lunch sometimes. It's not Mexican really, just sort of Mexican-inspired. And the food including the meat is at least attempted to be well-sourced.

                I gave up the tortilla. It's 300-some calories with no appreciable use. Get instead a burrito bowl. I usually get carnitas, sometimes barbicoa. I like the shredded texture. Chicken is more bland, but then that's what chicken is right? ;-) I get black beans usually but should try the pinto. They'll say mild medium or hot, but get any combo you like. I get mild (which is pico de gallo, so you have diced tomatoes) and medium (which has some tomatillos in it). The corn is good too. I get lettuce in just for some extra green. It still doesn't come out a super taste sensation, but it's good, makes a good lunch. Guac is made fresh at least 3x a day and not too bad. Chips are kinda salty though IMO.

                Just so you know, even if they ask either or, the answer is both if you like, pretty much. You can mix and match meats and beans even, you just have to be aware that it's an option.

                1. Keep in mind I don't know what real Mexican food is about. The most authentic I've eaten is from taquerias on the West side of Chicago where there are a lot of Mexican neighborhoods, so that's what I compare Chipotle to. Let's start with the bad. The tortillas are garbage: dense, floury, and elastic. Instead of griddling them Chipotle runs them through a steamer so they set lukewarm and gummy instead of hot and crispy as they should be, so skip the tacos and burritos. The "steak" seems to be some kind of chewy non-steak cut lke bottom round and it's cooked to dessication. The red and green salsas are kind of watery and have a one-dimensional flavor.

                  Now the good. I'd get a rice bowl with any of the non-steak meats. The chicken has excellent grilled flavor and I prefer it to the stewed style found in many taquerias. The carnitas is not bad, could be crispier, but it's comparable to taqueria carnitas. Barbacoa is very tender and savory but can be overly salty. Pinto and black beans, corn and tomato salsas, and cheese are decent. Sour cream is sour cream. So stick with some combination of those ingredients and you should get something good.

                  1. What's wrong with being comparable to taco trucks? Sounds like a pretty good bar to me.

                    1. There one downstairs at work also. So when I want a quick meal, I go get their salad bowl. I don't get beans or rice. I also don't get their dressing. They line the bowl with Romaine lettuce. First I get the fajita mix of peppers and onions, the chicken, the salsa verde, lots of cheese, guacamole, and as much lettuce on top that they can get on and be able to put the top on. On my way out I get 5 wedges of lime to squeeze on it. It's mighty tasty and I think healthy when there are not a lot of other options.

                      1. I guess I am one of the Chipotle haters.

                        I find it to be, not only bland and boring -but WAY overpriced.

                        After ordering the beef tacos, a few times with the normal fixings, I realized that the best most tasty thing about them was the meat itself - very tasty, I will say.

                        So the last time the office orederd, I decided to order my tacos with only meat - nothing added.

                        What I got were 3 miniscule things with a tiny bit of beef - and paid $11!

                        It was less than a snack - $11!

                        Never again!

                        I will also add that I live in an area with many small Mexican places, run by Mexicans. "Authentic" if you will, - where I can get much tastier tacos - 3 for about five bucks!

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: NellyNel

                          Wow. I didn't know tacos were so much! I spent about $7.50 the other night for my dinner — bowl and chips.

                          1. re: NellyNel

                            I think someone in your office ripped you off because I have never seen anything on the menu at Chipotle that is $11.

                            1. re: Velvet Elvis

                              Yep...I think it was your coworker who ripped you off, not Chipotle.

                              I have a few things I get....(1) chicken crunchy tacos with cheese, lettuce and corn salsa, (2) Veggie bowl with rice, black beans, cheese, medium green salsa and guacamole (I love their guac) and (3) Pork burrito (no rice) with pinto beans and green salsa.

                              1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                HA!

                                ok, Now I hate 'em even MORE

                                After trying to navigate their obnoxious web-site!

                                UGH

                                I tried to check the prices but there are none...I tried to "join" to fein placing an online order to see the prices...It required a password AND a security question. Now they know my mothers maiden name.

                                And still, it would not lead me to a place where I could see the prices. I got fed up.

                                This leads me to believe, individual restaurants have their own pricing.

                                Considering I work in NYC, near the Seaport, $11 is not out of the question. Prices are ALWAYS jacked up around here!

                                1. re: NellyNel

                                  I went to the location on 26th and 7th. My total was $10 and change for the burrito and a small fountain soda.

                                  1. re: rifkind81

                                    I get the veggie burrito and regular drink and with tax it's $7.88. This is in Virginia. If I get chicken or pork, it's $8+ change

                              2. re: NellyNel

                                Agree; they are overpriced and under 'meated'. The first time I went into one I ordered the way I always order a burrito; meat and hot sauce only - no fillers. When it was made, they guy said he couldn't charge me full price for it because there was almost nothing there.

                                1. re: NellyNel

                                  Bland, boring and overpriced -- that about sums it up. There's one near my office, and I've eaten there twice: once to check it out, once a couple of years later when there was a special offer through out company. After the second time I remembered why I didn't go back after the first time. Honestly, for Americanized-Mexican semi-fast food I preferred the Baja Fresh next to my office. But to say Chipotle is as good as a taco truck ... well, it just isn't, at least, not any taco trucks I patronize.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Well, it's 6 bucks here and we don't have any taco trucks (if only!) Not that I think it would be as good as any of them. I don't compare them anyway. It is what it is, which is not Mexican food but as I said Mexican-inspired perhaps.

                                    The main reason I go there occasionally now (apart from the fact that this one opened near the office a while back) is because I learned they use hormone/antibiotic-free meat and have standards for the raising of the animals. The pork (carnitas) is the one meat for sure that's 100% well-sourced; the beef and chicken is not there chain-wide yet. http://chipotle.com/en-US/fwi/animals...

                                2. I go to Chipotle occasionally -- 2 or 3 times a year. I've gone when they had coupons or offers or sometimes if I am driving past one with my kids and they request it. I have seen differences between the two locations I go to. One (on Rt 10 in East Hanover NJ) makes huge burritos stuffed to the point that I've seen the tortilla rip twice. Lots of beans and rice but not skimpy on meat either. the other location on Rt 22 in NJ made much smaller burritos. I did have a coupon and I'm not sure if that made a difference or not -- although I had the coupon on rt 10 and they were still quite big.

                                  They are not mind blowing burritos but they are not awful either. I get carnita or barbacoa. My one child gets steak and my other child gets carnitas or barbacoa. We usually get black beans but I might have to give pinto beans a whirl. My one kid got guac on the burrito but I'm not sure it was worth it for the cost because it gets lost with the other stuff.

                                  1. I have a question; why does Chipotle not offer a wheat tortilla. I understand it would not bring the calories or salt content down too much but you think it would fit into their over all image and plan.
                                    Also the California locations near me are still using alternate suppliers for their chicken (San Diego) and you can tell.

                                    In the last two weeks I have eaten there twice so I am not bashing. As a customer though the quality lately has been off. I also banned them from my rotation for a while since seeing how much of a "D Bag" their founder was on reality TV.

                                    Service is always friendly and excellent IMO.

                                    1. In context, I think Chipotle is great. It's fantastic. It's amazing.

                                      For me, the context is national chain restaurants.

                                      There's nobody except Chipotle that is all over the country where I can order something as tasty and healthy as a low-cal order at chipotle (skip the sour cream, rice and guac, ask for a light touch on the cheese). I like the corn, the beans, the chicken, the carnitas, the salsas and their tortillas. Generally an order of 3 tacos is under $8 here and feeds two moderate appetites. I'd gladly pay $9 or $10 for an order of 4 tacos because that'd feed two easily.

                                      Compared with any national burger chain, taco bell, subway, pizza chain or even places like Perkins or Denny's and Chipotle comes out on top in my opinion for taste, value and healthy food.

                                      Up against an authentic mom and pop taqueria (or small local chain of taquerias) and Chipotle looks homogenized and flavorless by comparison, but probably still does well on healthy and depending on the locale, might even be competitive on pricing.

                                      1. I LOVE Chipotle but for different reasons... I think they have great food. But at our location they can tell you exactly where the meat came from- I live in St. Louis and the chicken comes from a farm about 2 hours away. The beef is grass fed free range and comes from a local farm. The pork is also local. Ours carries local produce when in season and fair trade/ organic beans. Gotta love their morals and I do really enjoy the food so I'm a big-time supporter. Ours just recently got a kids meal which provides organic milk, a taco kit for kids to construct- much healthier than the kids meals at most places.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kmw1101

                                          I agree. Chipotle strives to get their ingredients at local markets and not only does it cut transportation costs, it tells you exactly where your food is coming from.

                                          I'm also fond of Chipotle because of their gluten-free chips (they have a great salty-citrusy punch to them)! I personally don't have wheat allergies (but have other food allergies) so I think it's great you can go to a chain and have these kind of options available for you.

                                          For more on Chipotle's Special Diet Information: http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/sp...