Lunch’er Jeff Gives a Baja Fresh Primer for First Timers


Unlike most normal Midtown Lunchers, I don’t usually eat at a place I’ve already eaten at, and order the same thing I’ve already tried (it’s a hazard of the job.) But I do have a few go-to lunches that I can’t help but eat every once in awhile. The sauteed udon noodles with pork from Hing Won, and the fake shrimp from Cafe Duke come to mind. Added to that list yesterday was Baja Fresh. What can I say? The Baja Chicken Burrito was my go-to lunch when I lived in LA (along with Panda Express), why should things be different here?

So yesterday, when a friend and I were looking for a place to eat near his office- I couldn’t help myself but suggest the Baja Fresh (on Lex btw. 45+46th). And it was partially spurred on by a comment posted to the site yesterday by Lunch’er Jeff. It wasn’t really applicable to me (I always order the baja chicken burrito), but I took a liking to his obsessive and meticulous examination of Baja Fresh from a first timers perspective.

Check it out after the jump…

Finally went to Baja Fresh after following Zach’s perverse love affair with it (not saying that’s a bad thing). Main point, very tasty, and as you put it Zach, this is a fast-food joint and expectations should match accordingly…and I put it on the high-end of the scale. Fresh and Fast.. those are the key components to fast food (clean?? who cares.. we all know that when you eat fast germs can’t catch you (just like the concept of the 5 second rule ;P But yeah, Baja was very clean).

Even with all his reviews of this place, i think Zach was a little off his game in the sense that he was too much of a Baja Fresh Pro… the first-times (aka, “morons” like myself) need to be warned about a few simple thing:

1) Be prepared for ordering off the menu. I didn’t realize how used to the prison cafeteria style ordering (like at Chipolte) I’ve become… i needed someone to hold my hand and walk me through each ingredient. I was lost at the actual concept of order a food item by name and {bam} being given that food item. And hey, the concept actually works (or should i say STILL works)

2) Salsa bar is awesome. Heck, probably loaded up on over $10 of salsa alone between all the varieties (that mango salsa could be a meal in itself.. tell that guy who did the Free Samples/Garbage Picking review for lunch). As a first-timer I naturally wanted to view all they had first, once i got down the bar to the mango, I began my fill-up there.. YIKES.. bad move… as now i could not go in the other direction to retrieve the first few salsa styles. I had to get back on the salsa line which was piling up and my order number just got called.. so now i had my hands full.. too late to return to the line… arrrrggg!! So know what you want, and take it the minute you see it.. heck, take it even if you don’t want it. (by the way, they could use more serving spoons… just one in each salsa bowl is a handicap)

3) Free Chips as a bad thing. Naturally fantastic that they include chips (reminds me of our dearly departed BurritoVille… RIP) but just be careful if you do take-out.. they have just enough grease to cut through the thin paper bag (umm, if you see any of my chips laying around Lex ave, like a trail of breadcrumbs, please return them to me, I’m the good looking guy with the mango salso all over his face)

One last thing to note (not so much a warning) don’t miss the free lime wedges. More and more Chipotles have not been displaying limes (i’ve needed to ask and they seem reluctant to even give me). Is there a lime shortage? are they that expensive? Limes really are a necessity these days.. nothing else balances out the chemical pollutants of a Diet Coke better than sweet, fresh lime juice. And balanace is key people.

New York City Baja Fresh Nails the Baja Chicken Burrito

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