Cilantromex – Albany, NY
One day, I found myself in Crossgates Mall during lunch. I had to pick up something at Lululemon, so I thought it would be worth checking out the new Cilantromex that opened.
It’s actually on the same side of the mall as Lululemon, kind of right across from it. To give more perspective, it’s upstairs above Orange Julius, The Happy Cappuccino, and Texas de Brazil. I would have expected this to be near the food court or on the complete opposite end of the mall, but it’s not.
Their menu is basically a clone of Chipotle or Moes. It’s been described to me as “Chipotle with more options.” That day, I went with a bowl with pretty much the same additions I would get at Chipotle.
So I went with
- Brown rice
- Adobo grilled chicken
- Black beans
- Pico de gallo
- Hot salsa
- Sour cream (a little)
- Cheese (a little)
- Guacamole (extra charge)
Based on the scoops and size of the bowl, the portion sizes were smaller than what’s usual at Chipotle. The adobo chicken had very good flavor, but was a little on the dry side. Luckily everything else was pretty wet. Overall, the salsas and other components in the bowl tasted flat. I don’t know if it’s that they were lacking salt or maybe some other spices. The guacamole was ok, but was homogeneous and tasted very processed.
With the addition of the guac, my total came to almost $11, which is about $3 than I usually spend at Chipotle with the same options. Honestly, there wasn’t anything there that made me feel like it was worth the difference.
I do realizing I’m making heavy comparisons between this experience and Chipotle, but it’s difficult not to when they are competing for the same market.
The most curious detail of my experience was the inclusion of the Hormel logo on the menu. While Hormel has a reputation for making some very decent cured meats and provisions, it was never a brand I associated with “fresh” food, and it’s not really clear what the extent of the reach of the Hormel brand is on their menu (even from searching on Google). So the juxtaposition of Cilantromex’s tagline “We make fresh better” with the Hormel logo seems awkward to me.
But that’s just me.