The new ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen concept is opening in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, and social media reports offer glimpses from a soft-opening preview this week.
It appears that the long-awaited second concept from Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is just about ready for its close up, although company officials did not respond to requests for details.
Reviewers on Yelp and other websites indicated that they have gotten tickets for free lunches over the past week at ShopHouse, which, as promised, offers an Asian take on the fast-casual Chipotle format.
The Washington, D.C., blog DCist described a menu that includes the choice of two entrée styles: bowls ranging in price from $6.59 to $7.50 and banh mi sandwiches, ranging from $6.14 to $7.05.
On its menu, ShopHouse describes dishes as “drawing on the bold and complex flavors of Southeast Asian cuisine,” including curries and sauces, fresh vegetables and herbs, artisanal organic tofu and meats raised responsibly, without the use of antibiotics or added hormones, according to DCist.
Diners choose their protein, including such options as grilled chicken satay, pork and chicken meatballs, grilled steak or organic tofu.
For a bowl, the protein might top jasmine rice, brown rice or rice noodles. Guests then select a vegetable, sauce, garnish and topping.
The banh mi includes the choice of protein topped with green papaya slaw, mint and crushed peanuts.
Drinks include Asian beers, ginger ales, iced tea or coconut water.
A Fortune magazine profile of Chipotle founder and chief executive Steve Ells, who also is leading development of ShopHouse, indicated the menu will include dishes influenced by the cuisine of Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, such as grilled steak with a chili-jam marmalade, roast corn with scallions, Chinese broccoli and pickled vegetables.
A small handful of Yelp reviews from those who attended the soft opening were generally positive, with comments ranging from “amazing, fresh and flavorful!!” to “it wasn’t all that great or special.”
Others pointed out the obvious: “No burritos!”
A website for the concept appeared to be under construction on Wednesday. The web address www.shophousekitchen.com brings up a list of directory pages with photos and short videos of a trip by Chipotle officials, including Ells, traveling in Southeast Asia.
Based in Denver, Chipotle operates 1,131 locations of its namesake Mexican Grill concept, mostly in the United States. The chain is scheduled to open its first unit in Paris during the third quarter, and its second in London opened earlier this month.