When you’re hungry in a hurry in New York City and Mexican’s on your mind, you might find yourself faced with a choice between adding to Burritoville’s population of 208, or stepping into the newly-minted corporate confines of McDonald’s gone south of the border in the form of Chipotle Grill.
Apart from having an excellent advertising campaign, an interior design that I find appealing and cute baby merchandise, I find little to recommend Chipotle Grill if you’re interested in is eating. The mass-produced food model that partially underlies McDonald’s fast food success is replicated here, only with a very limited menu. (McDonald’s spun off Chipotle Grill and it listed yesterday.)
Chipotle Grill tries to punt it’s “made fresh” offerings that use “natural” meats, but that’s not synonymous with “organic”. More fantastical is its claim to serve “gourmet burritos and tacos.” If your tastebuds had to imagine the opposite of that description, a sort of lowest common culinary denominator of Mexican comida rápida, then you’d be holding a Chipotle Grill offering.
Not that I’m trying to imply that Burritoville is some bastion of Mexican cuisine, but at least your marketing-hyped hopes will not be disappointed here. The menu is far more extensive, the options are tasty, and you can witness the taco chips coming out fresh (as opposed to standing in the warmer ready to be dispensed to you in brown paperbags.)
An added bonus? If you eat in you get to enjoy free chips and a variety of salsas, comfy booths and something on the TV. Burritoville offers all sorts of things that Chipotle doesn’t — like a variety of burritos and rice types and a wide selection of ingredients (like you can have both sour cream *and* cheese, guacamole at no extra cost and fresh chips that won’t send your blood pressure soaring because of their salt content.)
If you think that mine is a lone opinion, check out what others have to say on Yelp, a New York City review by the people website.
Of course these aren’t your only options, only the most populous ones — double-digit locations for Burritoville and, unsuprisingly, moren than 400 locations across the US for Chipotle Grill. (Other city outlets like Ta Cocina Express offer satisfactory value for money. I’m a fan of their taco salads, which certainly out rank the browned lettuce and paltry ingredient options from Chipotle.)
My advice for a real, Mexican take out treat? Chelsea’s “Kitchen Market“. It’s a city source for spices and cooking ingredients (as well as cinco de mayo-styled cake toppers), and detour worthy burritoes and taco chips (white, blue corn or mixed.) It’s well worth a subway ride.[And as an aside, Chipotle Grill could stand two more improvements besides their menu. 1. A usability review of their website. 2. Some franchisee instructions on being good neighbourhood citizens i.e. don’t be the only business that doesn’t shovel your walk in the midst of the worst recorded blizzard.]