A review of Chipotle Mexican Grill
By KP Davis, Contributor
America loves Chipotle, and I’ve never been quite sure why. It is one of the stops that my travelling companions have to make whenever we travel down to Seattle, but I have always viewed it as more of a Mexican Subway than any sort of must-have stop on an extremely short road trip. When they opened their first location on Howe street several of my friends immediately lost their minds, and that reaction was compounded when the second location opened in British Columbia’s biggest mall. I have eaten there before—both in Seattle and Vancouver—recently I decided to put on my “foodie” hat and really see what all the fuss is about.
I walked in and was greeted with sandstone and brown, harking to the dry deserts of northern Mexico and California, which stood in sharp contrast to the harsh and industrial seating throughout. Everything was done up in warm, worn wood and cold textured steel. I wish I could have inspected some of the furniture more closely, but most seats had been filled.
The place was busy. The lineup was to the door but even then I didn’t have to wait too long before it was my turn to order.
A sign above the taco bar reminded me that everything I was about to consume was ethical and real, while the server who filled my burrito was conversational and outgoing as they come. I was shocked to discover that one of the American Chipotle traditions had transferred north of the border—I could grab a beer with my taco! I ordered a Corona and tucked in.
Nothing about the meal was offensive or overly flavourful. Subtle hints of lime, sour cream and starch ruled the day, with the guacamole adding a fresh hit to everything. Tabasco sauce was everywhere, so if you desired a little heat or smoke you could find it easily. The medium salsa (a delicious salsa verde) was by far the best flavour I came across.
The tacos that I had were as to be expected—salty and crisp with just enough integrity for two bites. I was surprised by the burrito. As someone who has eaten a lot of wraps I was expecting everything to fall apart into a gooey mess before I had finished, but the burrito held on to the last bite.
The meat was delicious. The pulled pork and shredded beef were moist, but not overly cooked as to turn soupy. The flavour was subtle and took to the hot sauces very well. The chicken was delicious if a little over-cooked, with the seared edges getting a little too hard for my liking and some of the thinner parts being almost inedible.
When it comes to mall food, Chipotle stands out among the other offerings at Metrotown. The price point is acceptable, though high compared to some of its competitors, but it is definitely worth the hype.
Chipotle Mexican Grill can be found at Metrotown or 818 Howe Street, Vancouver.