Sunday, July 28, 2013

Burrito Battles: Chipotle Mexican Grill

When it comes to burritos, Chipotle Mexican Grill has no equal. Founded 20 years ago, Chipotle has grown from 16 locations (all in Colorado) to almost 1500 worldwide today. Their secret? Assembly line efficiency, corporate ownership (no franchises here) and fresh ingredients. How fresh? They serve more naturally raised meat than any other restaurant in the country. That's pretty darn fresh.

It's also pretty darn tasty: Chipotle's meats are loaded with flavor and often grilled right in front of you. I run back and forth between chicken and Barbacoa (shredded beef) but you can also get steak or Carnitas (pork.) I opted for chicken tonight... $6.37 ($7 after tax) for a giant-sized burrito filled with smoky, spicy chipotle pepper adobo-marinated meat, that's grilled to perfection before making its way to the assembly line. Unlike other places, the meat rarely sits for long... one of the perks of buying from a busy retailer.

It may look like every other burrito...

You can choose from white or brown Cilantro-Lime rice (go with brown) and your choice of beans or cheese (I skip both) before moving on to the salsas. I mix mine: Fresh Tomato Salsa (sweet tomatoes, red onions, jalapeño peppers and cilantro) with several dashes of Tomatillo-Red Chili Salsa (puréed chiles, tomatillos and hot spices) for a little kick. The end result? Pure deliciousness, each and every time.

For a relatively tiny space, the Cleveland Park Chipotle gets you in and out in a couple of minutes. I've had many meals here, and never once have they messed up. They're a model of consistency. The restaurant is immaculate, with plenty of seating and nice music/atmosphere. Best of all, employees are attentive, professional and respectful. Never once have I had to compete with a private conversation between co-workers... At this Chipotle, customers are #1. No wonder, they're our choice for best burrito in town.