After more than a year in progress, the first Chipotle store in Paris is officially opening tomorrow at Grands Boulevards. For hordes of American expats and people who, like me, had lived in the States and cultivated a taste for oversized rice and bean stuffed burritos, the wrinkly pepper that is the store’s namesake and a glass door that’s finally un-papered and open are wonderful sights to behold.
Over the last few days, the people at Chipotle had been giving out vouchers for free meals prior to the official opening (May 24th 2012) so that their employees can perfect their burrito rolling skills. Thanks to friends living nearby and who have been tirelessly tracking the store’s opening, we obtained 2 vouchers and decided to grab dinner on Tuesday night.
Those familiar with Chipotle’s modus operandi will be glad to know that the menu remains the same, from the types of meat, bean options down to the corn salsa (though admittedly corn in Paris was albino-colored and tasteless) and multiple tabasco sauces on offer. For those who have never visited a Chipotle branch before, ordering a meal is simple and somewhat akin to the assembly line chez Subway Sandwiches. Here’s how it works: step 1) choose your meal of choice (a burrito, 3 tacos or a burrito bol); step 2) pick your meat; step 3) add rice and beans, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, cheese, avocado (all optional); step 4) pick up at the counter, order more guacamole and chips or drinks, pay up then tuck in!
I got a chicken burrito bol, an old favorite from my days at NYC, where I would have the tortilla-less burrito salad for lunch and then spend the afternoon rubbing my distended stomach and fighting zzz-s. Glad to report that the portions have not shrunk traveling across the Altantic. The recipes seem to me much unchanged with the chicken tasting freshly grilled and juicy, though the salsa’s piquancy may have been dialed back, the black beans could have been softer, and the corn quality improved (or taken off the list of toppings). Overall though, the carb-bomb remains satisfying, and even more so this time around since Chipotle subsidized my 9 euro dish in the name of employee training!
Address: 20 Boulevard Montmartre, 75009, Paris