People have come to associate Chipotle with oversized burritos, guacamole made from actual avocados, and fast food treated with respect. If that’s what Yalies are looking for, they won’t be satisfied by Chipotle’s arrival in New Haven. Because, so far, the burrito franchise’s newly opened branch is really not worth the trek.
On one Sunday evening, the line goes all the way around the shop. Not surprising, given that it’s the new kid on the block. What’s more surprising is the mess: a 30-minute wait, chicken breasts burning on the griddle, and table salt stored in Tabasco bottles. When I finally arrive at the start of the burrito assembly line, the server demands my order. She lazily heats up my tortilla and spoons on overcooked cilantro-lime rice that obviously lacks both cilantro and lime. The carnitas is kept moist only by the leaking salsa-water. Speaking of salsa, my “roasted” corn salsa seemed to have foregone roasting. They’ve run out of sour cream, but at least there’s guacamole—too bad it’s ice-cold. Perhaps it’s because they’ve paired cold guacamole with stale chips. As I reach the cashier, they unsuccessfully attempt to wrap up my burrito in the toasted tortilla, and dump its insides all over a new, cold tortilla.
As it stands, what occupies the corner of Chapel and Temple Streets isn’t quite what we expect in a Chipotle. It’s an inconsistent, sub-par, faux-Mexican mess that lacks efficiency, organization, and the integrity of its brand. Until they pull themselves together, just go to Tomatillo.