Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chipotle Mexican Grill

I went to the Mall on a Sunday afternoon and wanted lunch. I was at the eastern side of the Mall where Borders is located. I dabbled between Daphne's, Panera and Chipotle. I quickly eliminated Panera because it was too crowded and the line was out the front door. The decision then became a taco or a gyro. I chose the tacos. For $7.00 I received three crunchy shelled tacos. I ordered one chicken, one shredded beef called barbacoa, and one carne asade (grilled beef) taco. In the tacos, you have a choice of rice and beans or plain meat. I opted for one taco to have the rice, beans and meat and the other two tacos with only the meat.

I watched the staff assemble the tacos that I ordered. The first person inserted the meat in the taco shells. The second person added the salsa, cheese, sour cream and lettuce. By the time I received my food, the plate was a hot mess...and not in a good way. There was sour cream over the side of the plate, sprinkled cheese all over the plate and not necessarily inside the taco. The food was poorly prepared. Presentation wise, it was a sad looking meal.

I ate my meal at the restaurant. The first taco was the barbacoa. The meat was tender and tasty. The salsa was medium spicy and it had a kick, but it did not overwhelm the mouth. The second taco I consumed was the carne asada. The grilled beef was cut into little cubes. Unfortunately, the carne asada was overcooked. The beef ended up as hard, chewy, little meat cubes. The meat was dry and it made the taco less desirable. The last taco I ate was the chicken. The chicken was a little tough to eat. The chicken taco had the rice and beans inside; the two ingredients did not add a lot of value. All three tacos were messy to eat and salsa dripped out the sides. The saving grace of the tacos was the sour cream. The sour cream cooled the heat from the salsa and added moisture to the overcooked meat.

Chipotle seems to specialize in cooked meats and not fish. I did not see any fish tacos or fish plates on the menu board. The barbacoa was the best of the bunch, since it sits in its own sauce. The chicken and carne asada are kept hot in a heated tray which dries out the meat. My recommendation is to eat barbacoa.

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