I am pleased to give a resounding good review to Chipotle, the McDonald's-owned burrito chain whose brushed steel, round bar stools, and sans-serif-font menu practically screams, "this is not going to be good." But I might even say it's the best burrito in Manhattan... well, that's an unscientific thing and, if true, definitely says more about burritos in NY than about Chipotle. But mmm! properly wrapped in tinfoil and snug in its tortilla so I can eat the whole thing with my hands, with a-hint-of-lemon rice (cuts the burrito breath in half) and absolutely passable black beans. Hottest salsa item didn't make me cry or anything, but it was not too vinegary (as some are) and did add a bit of pep. I also asked for some corn salsa and it added a nice cilantro-y sweetness. Guac comes with the $5.95 veggie option and it has actual discernable avocado chunks, as opposed to creepy puree that seems like it might come from a powder that you get at some places.
Like a starbucks at an I-95 truck stop, this bit of corporate presence is a-ok in my book. The 2 chipotles, as far as I know, are on St. Mark's place and somewhere in the west 30s or low 40s. For the latter, no neighborhood could possibly be more wanting of good lunches. The former, well, there is much better food in the East Village, to be sure. But the bonus for me was sitting at the huge glass window peering down on St. Mark's Place. It's annoying as hell to walk down that street, all the punky jersey kids staring down new piercing jewelry, but it makes for good watching from above. And across from Dojo-- no place I'd rather turn away from on my way to the next McBurrito.
p.s. no great surprise, but from a quick look the new "chickpea" felafel place at St. Marks and 3rd-- I guess that's the name that won their $2500 naming contest, whoop de doo-- doesn't look so great. felafel looks like it's made with a stamp or something. at least it's only $2.95. RIP the great pizza place that used to be there years ago...
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