If guacamole is the undisputed king of Chipotle toppings, queso is the wannabe usurper to the throne. When the fast casual chain finally added cheese dip to the menu in September after years of holding out, reviews were, in a word, mixed. With Chipotle's new queso recipe, though, it hopes to win back all the customers who were less than enthused by the original menu item. If you were among the ranks of the disappointed, take heart. After a rocky start, Chipotle has reportedly made some changes to the recipe that should make it more widely appealing.
On Wednesday, Business Insider made a trip to the chain's test kitchen in Manhattan, where they tried the altered queso recipe. A spokesperson for the company confirmed the changes to Business Insider, although he was sure to point out that it is still made with natural ingredients — something that Chipotle prides themselves on with all of their food offerings, not just their queso. According to the testers, this go-round is "substantially less grainy" with an "even, overall heat." It's less smoky than before, and unlike the original recipe, which tended to congeal quickly as it cooled, the new queso even retained a regular dip texture after sitting out for a bit. Given that nothing kills a party faster than disappointing cheese dip, this is welcome news. Cheese is pretty much the best part of... well, anything.
Business Insider also discovered that Chipotle's test kitchen also offers nachos, which happen to be smothered in queso, for $4.80. The company didn't indicate whether nachos will be added to nationwide menus, but if it is planning on making them more widely available, it's no wonder Chipotle is adjusting its controversial cheese dip. In the meantime, nachos are part of Chipotle's "secret menu," meaning they can be made to order if you just ask. All you have to do is order a burrito bowl with chips instead of rice at the bottom.
For years, queso was one of the most commonly requested items to be added to the menu. At last, 24 years after it was founded, Chipotle announced in July that it was testing cheese dip at certain locations, and in mid-September, the highly anticipated concoction rolled out across the country at all Chipotle locations. Like guacamole, it can be ordered on the side or as part of a burrito — and, apparently, in the test kitchen, it can be ordered on top of chips as a nachos plate. LIT.
To understand the decline in queso demand prior to this updated recipe, it helps to look at customers' reactions. Reviews from food journalists were generally negative, with most noting that the dip was strangely grainy. Even GQ's more favorable review described it as "perfectly fine." On social media, people took a less delicate approach. Yelp users, for example, said they found it "extremely gritty" or "super light and watered down." Meanwhile, Twitter users did what they did best: one-up each other with increasingly inventive ways of describing their disappointment.
That being said, some people failed to see what all the fuss was about, taking to social media to state that they like it.
Honestly, the addition of nachos to the test kitchen menu sounds like it could be insanely awesome, so I'm glad that the company is also updating their queso recipe to better fit in. While it's not clear if the nachos will be launching in other stores any time soon — or ever — a new queso is still a great start. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a queso-filled burrito to go order and promptly inhale.