Testing Amazon Kitchen: Here’s our hot take on the tech giant’s first hot food bar at Amazon Go Grocery

Amazon does deliveries, cloud computing, voice technology, and e-readers pretty damn well.

The company’s hot food game, though, could use a little work.

That’s my verdict after taste testing a 3-cheese melt, a fajita burrito, chicken fingers, and Italian Wedding Soup from Amazon’s newest grocery store.

If you’re looking for a quick 7-Eleven-style bite — affordable, convenient, but not exactly gourmet — then Amazon Go Grocery fits the bill. But I probably won’t be seeking out “Amazon Kitchen” for my next meal.

The new Amazon Go Grocery in Redmond, Wash.

Amazon just opened its second Amazon Go Grocery location in Redmond, Wash., a stone’s throw away from Microsoft’s sprawling campus just east of downtown Seattle. The first store opened earlier this year in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood location.

Like Amazon’s other Go stores, customers scan a QR code from the Amazon Go app to enter, as overhead cameras track humans and items as part of a cashierless shopping experience.

The 7,350-square-foot store in Redmond is larger and offers something new: a hot food section. I dropped by a little after lunchtime this week and there were several options: burritos, sandwiches, chicken tenders, chicken wings, soup, rotisserie chicken, pizza, racks of ribs. Amazon offers breakfast items such as wraps and oatmeal in the morning.

I grabbed some items and just walked out. I’m still not used to the surveillance-style shopping, with Amazon’s cameras tracking my every move. It’s such a weird feeling not paying for items at a register, then seeing a receipt on my phone with exactly everything I bought. The technology is impressive.

But Amazon’s hot food prep? Not so much.

I started with the $4.99 soup, which was slightly warmer than lukewarm — not quite hot enough for me. The broth was flavorful and mild, without too much salt. The “Italian-style meatballs” were small, but added to the heartiness, along with onions, spinach, and pasta. This wasn’t much better than a canned soup, but I didn’t mind it. My rating: 3 out of 5. 

The soup doesn’t look appetizing, but it tastes decent.

Next up was the $6.99 fajita veggie and cojita burrito. It wasn’t wrapped tight enough, or perhaps could have used more filling, so the burrito was a little flimsy. But the tortilla was solid — not too soft, but not too soggy — and the beans-to-cheese-to-veggies ratio was proper. I could taste the seasoning on the rice. This was better than a microwavable burrito, but probably on the same level of Taco Bell, and not quite as bulky or satisfying as Chipotle. My rating: 3.5 out of 5. 

The burrito could have used more filling, but I liked the beans-to-cheese-to-veggies-to-rice ratio.

Third on the menu was the $4.99 3-cheese melt. It looked promising but the bread was way too chewy and hard to eat. The cheese also didn’t melt well. The sourdough bread did taste good, though. This one is tough to perfect as a hot food item — you need to eat immediately after

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