|Cantina Bell steak burrito left, Image of Chipotle Steak burrito right by Flickr/compujeramey|
|Cantina Bell Burrito Bowl|
Cantina Burrito Bowl with Chicken ($5.99 in NYC) vs. Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowl ($7.81 in NYC + $2.07 for guac = $9.88)
Overall we were impressed with the presentation and general flavor of the new Cantina Bell Burrito Bowls, in fact most Zagat staffers who glanced the dish remarked something along the lines of: "Wow that looks really nice...for Taco Bell." Here's a breakdown of each ingredient compared with Chipotle.
Chicken: Cantina Bell's lime-marinated chicken is surprisingly tender and palatable, and doesn't have that faux-smoke taste that Chipotle's chicken (and most of its other meat) does.
Corn salsa: Cantina's Bell's "fire-roasted" corn salsa was a tad slimier and less fresh tasting than Chipotle's corn salsa, but overall its flavor was pleasant.
Guacamole: The guac on the Cantina Bell salad was very acidic and not as fresh-made tasting as Chipotle's, but passable as far as pre-made guacs go.
Beans/rice: The black beans and rice in the bottom of the Cantina Bell salad actually tasted like beans and rice! But we have to say again that Chipotle's version is slightly tastier.
Cantina Steak Burrito ($5.99 in NYC) vs. Chipotle Steak Burrito ($8.27 + $2.07 for guac in NYC) = $10.34
The Cantina Bell steak burrito's overall flavor fell somewhere in between that familiar "Taco Bell taste" and Chipotle's, thanks mostly to the similarly-flavored rice and beans. Presentation-wise, the burrito wasn't quite as aesthetically appealing as Chipotle's. Below we break down the items inside (that were not already mentioned above).
Steak: Like the chicken, the steak in the Cantina Bell burrito lacked the faux smoky flavor of Chipotle's (a plus) but this steak is definitely not as high quality meat-wise. Also, overall the Cantina Bell items, especially its meats, were noticeably less salty than regular Taco Bell fare.
Tortilla: The grilled tortillas used to wrap the Cantina Bell burrito didn't seem to be a significant upgrade from the ones Taco Bell uses on the regs. They were super chewy, floury and gluten-y, whereas Chipotle's taste slightly more homemade and less processed.
Overall verdict: For practically half the price, the Cantina Bell menu is a definite value, but you do get what you pay for, and the overall quality and taste of Chipotle still has a slight edge over Taco Bell.