It’s been a few months since I last ate at Chipotle, and the craving for a burrito is back in full force.  “I could really use a burrito.  I’m sure Chipotle is not as bad as I remember it!  Look at the gigantic lines!  Everybody loves Chipotle… i’m sure it will be delicious!”  Luckily my original post serves as a reminder of how I feel (“Free Chipotle is the only good Chipotle“), and I decided instead to hit up Burritoville with a friend from work.

I tried Burritoville once before (the one on 9th ave.), when I first moved here from L.A.  Seeking a substitute for the burritos I could get on the west coast, I knew I wasn’t going to replace the real deal authentic burritos- but I was at least hoping to find a replacement for Baja Fresh (My go-to work lunch in L.A.  There was one across the street from my office, and I probably ate there 2-3 times a week). 

At the one on 9th ave. I got the “Holy Mole” burrito, and was pretty underwhelmed.  It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great.  I probably should have known that I wasn’t going to get a great mole from a place that felt the need to add funny names to their burritos.  I remember thinking “This place isn’t that bad.  I probably am disappointed because I just moved here, and I’m used to the good stuff.”

With that in mind, I returned to Burritoville- hoping to find a Chipotle substitute for when my Burrito addiction rears it’s ugly head.  Pictures, and the +/- after the jump…

Burritoville is not really an authentic Burrito place (when compared to places on the  West Coast).  It’s more of a Tex-Mex wrap place.  Part of the menu is sort of authentic, part of it tries to be authentic but fails, and part of it is just not authentic at all.

Here’s the part that is not authentic

  • The silly names.  “Mystical Fresco” “Holy Mole” “Bob Marley’s Last Burrito”.  It’s just stupid.  Burritos are a perfect food… you don’t need a clever marketing scheme.  Do you really think a college kid is going to be like “Hey… the burrito is named after Bob Marley!  I love Bob Marley!  Let’s get a burrito!”.  Make a good burrito, with fresh and simple ingredients, and the people will come.
  • The “fancy” ingredients.  Trying to serve mole is commendable.  Jerk chicken, smoky grilled chicken, turkey sausage-  not so much.  These things have no business being in a burrito.
  • No pork, lard, pig or pork products at Burritoville.  It should be a crime.

The part that tries, but fails

  • Every burrito place should have free chips and salsa.  It’s a god given right when ordering a burrito.  You shouldn’t be forced to pay extra!  This is where Burritoville shines.  Free chips and salsa bar.  Unfortunately, the salsas are not that great- especially the salsa verde (or green salsa), which tastes like it’s made with horseradish.  I don’t know what makes it green, but it’s supposed to be tomatillos.  I know you’ve got tomatillos (they’re in the Mystical Fresco Burrito), use them to make the green salsa!!!

The part that is authentic

  • Free chips and salsa
  • For the tacos, they do give you the choice of soft corn tortillas.  That’s a good thing.
  • They have Jarritos (Mexican soda) and Horchata (a delicious, sweet rice drink)
  • They don’t put cilantro and lime in their rice.  🙂

With all that being said, my friend and I had a pretty good meal at Burritoville.  I got the Mystical Frisco Burrito (Shredded chicken in a slow simmered tomatillo salsa).  If it had been wrapped well, I would have enjoyed it a lot more then I did.  My friend isn’t a Mexican food snob like me, so he enjoyed his Chicken Tacos served in flour tortillas. 

 If you are looking for a Tex-Mex wrap place, that has something resembling a burrito on the menu- you will probably enjoy Burritoville.  If you are looking for a west coast burrito that will silence the people (like me) who say “There are no good burritos in New York”, this place is not going to do it.  On to the +/-  !!!

THE + (What people who like about this place will say)

  • If you are a vegetarian, they have tons of vegetarian options and are very vegetarian friendly.  They have various tofu options, plus beans that are not made with any meat products.  (Most real Mexican places would be impossible for a vegetarian to get a burrito).  It’s also kosher friendly (since they don’t use pork products)
  • They make everything fresh (nothing is canned) and with no preservatives.  This includes their tortillas, which are pressed fresh daily
  • If you are not a burrito snob you’ll like this place
  • I like free chips and salsa
  • The lines are shorter then Chipotle
  • They’re not owned by McDonalds

THE – (What people who don’t like this place will say)

  • I like my burritos simple and authentic.  These burritos are neither.
  • The green salsa is terrible.
  • My burrito wasn’t wrapped well, but it could have just been that one time  (at least they are not meant to be eaten with a fork and knife)

Burritoville, Multiple Locations in Midtown

  • 866 Third Ave. (52nd btw. Lex&3rd), 212-980-4111
  • 152 E. 43rd. St. (btw. Lex & 3rd), 212-880-8300

17 Responses to Burritoville

  1. Pete says:

    mmmmmmmmmm Baja Fresh. If Baja won’t come to NYC can’t we at least get a Qdoba or a Moe’s as an alternative to Chipotle?

    I tried Burritoville once……………..’nuff said.

  2. Keef says:

    Baja Fresh is good. You definetly have to go to the West Coast to have authentic mexican burritos. I don’t like Chipotle that much but if anyone ever go up to Boston, there is this great burrito joint called Anna’s Taqueria. It is much better than Burritoville and Chipotle and I wished they opened up one in the city.

  3. MidtownLunch says:

    It’s funny you mention that… i lived in Boston before moving to L.A. and *Loved* Anna’s Taqueria. Best burrito I’ve ever had outside of California.

  4. Astoriette says:

    Burritoville has soy cheese and sour cream too, which is convenient. Plus, they use brown rice, which I find tastier than white.
    But… Why don’t you just go to Pompano? It’s so much better!

    My westcoast friend recommends Rachel’s Tacos in Park Slope as being closest to authentic she’s found here.

  5. blankwave says:

    The best near-West Coast Burrito place I’ve found is Uncle Moe’s. One location only. 8&th avenue and 10th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn (one block from the F train 7th Ave Stop and worth the ride).

    People from the West Coast living in NYC complain about the Mexican food a lot here and I understand it, but let it be known there is someone who sufferes far worse than you. Me! I was born and raised in New Mexico and you can not find anything near the New Mexican cuisine anywhere except for NM. I miss new mexico hatch green chili so so badly.

  6. blankwave says:

    Loco Burrito on Graham and Metropolitan in Williamsburg (one block from the Graham L stop) may actually be better than Uncle Moe’s.

  7. GoBoston says:

    Give it up for Anna’s Taqueria! That place is amazing, but not as good as….

    El Pelon Taqueria. In the Fenway area, tucked away, it’s a little slice of heaven. If you’ve been there once, you’ll go a million times.

  8. MidtownLunch says:

    We were also a big fan of El Pelon… but more for the Carnitas Torta then the Burrito.
    As for the Pampano Taqueria question- I went to Burritoville for the love of my readers! I’ve already written about Pampano, and wanted to write about a new place for those who didn’t know about Burritoville, and might be interested in it. (But I agree… Pampano is a better choice- especially for the tacos) If you missed the Pampano write up, here’s a link https://midtownlunch.wordpress.com/2006/08/24/pampano-taqueria/

  9. Susan says:

    Burrito Box at 58th and 9th makes fantastic I know it’s a bit of a way away from Midtown, but it’s almost like the chains but privately owned. Fantastic free chips and salsa (and cups of water).

  10. Astoriette says:

    ML, you are selfless and beautiful. I applaud you.

  11. dB. says:

    Burritoville?! Don’t waste your money people, the true burrito can be found at Las Poblanitas, 302 W 38TH St. – with local flavor please. Photos @ http://www.foodcandy.com/PlaceView.aspx?id=342

  12. Anonymous says:

    Anyone want a burrito better than Baja Fresh? Look no farther than New Haven, CT on the corner of Elm and York. Roomba’s burrito cart purveys the best burritos on earth, esp. the element of tasty corn slaw.

  13. tj says:

    i ate at the one on 43rd and ya it was badly rapped i needed a fork

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  15. Carlo-san from Rome says:

    I used to have the “Holy Mole” Burritos from Burritoville while in NYC and i loved them so much! I am sure there are bettere burritos on the west coast but this one was very nic especially enjoyed their sour cream. Will go again! 😉

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