Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Best Trip to Chelsea's "Secret" Super Chipotle

I eat at Chipotle because I live in New York and the state of Mexican food here is poor enough that it has become a viable option . . . if I lived somewhere else (Chicago/Salt Lake/Los Angeles) I'd be about as likely to go into a Chipotle as a Blimpie's or a Sbarro.  But I learned something interesting on the internet, the sort of thing that ramps my curiosity up to uncontrollable:

There is a Chipotle in Chelsea that is a secret super Chipotle test kitchen (except it's not a secret, it's just kept on the down low) where they try out new recipes, new products, and all the food is actually prepared and cooked in house (because the carnitas and barbacoa at all the other Chipotles in the world is cooked in Chicago and reheated and served at the stores).  So basically this Chipotle is a real restaurant disguised as a Chipotle.  And they have chorizo on the menu!

Yesterday I found myself in an uptown train from the Financial District around lunch time and couldn't keep myself from disembarking at 18th street.  I had a half-carnitas, half-chorizo salad with RED beans (they don't have those anywhere else) and a pair of definitely different salsas.  The staff at Chipotle is usually friendly and capable, but this location's staff was particularly nice and competent—my cashier was very, very apologetic and sweet about correcting a little error when she rang me up.

Right there . . . see that?  It's chorizo.

And how was the food?  I'm no fastidious Chipotle connoisseur, but it was, to me, clearly definitely much better than any Chipotle (or Qdoba or whatever) food I had ever had.  My carnitas had an actual char on them and a very full and nice flavor.  The chorizo was exceptional, as good as anything I've recently chowed on in East Harlem with, again, a very nice char to the meat.  If I had been super serious about analyzing the meats I would have ordered a few tacos, a salad was perhaps not the best way for me to have this Chipotle to show me what its got, but I was impressed.  And so busy eating and enjoying that I barely took any pictures.  If Chipotle can come up with a way to roll out this food in all their locations we'll be dealing with a fast-casual chain worth dipping into no matter where you live.

Also: Bullet Point #1 here . . . is it a punctuation error or an error in my brain that makes me think they're starving their pigs?

Further Reading: Here's the Serious Eats article that taught me about this special Chipotle.  It is a much better examination of everything that's going on in Chelsea.  I'm sorry you read my post when you could have just read this one.

1 comment:

Side of Jeffrey said...

Here I was finally honored to have a Chipotle near my house open up and then I read that there are better chipotle's in the world.