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San Jose, Taq. MissionOMR: 8.18
2830 Mission
cross street: 24th St.
ph. 415/282-0203
Map Visits: 7
When this veteran Mission burrito shop — how veteran? the place dates back to the Jimmy Carter administration — underwent a makeover in the late '00s, both the wrecking ball and the interior designer’s eye mercifully gave all the still-life entree snapshots lining the south wall a miss. What else sets Taq. San Jose apart? Well, the prices are among the highest you’ll find on any Mission taqueria menu, and check that Jesus of Nazareth clock hanging next to the counter. Taq. San Jose claims to be the Mission's first taqueria, but El Faro and La Cumbre would surely have something to say about that. Open late, or real late, or neither — whatever management feels like that particular night. Breakfast, bottled beer, wine, and sangria available. Credit cards accepted.

Will My Health Be Violated?

07/02/12Super Carnitas$8.078.08 Mustaches
Swish: beans (9); spiciness (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); size (8); meat (8); rice (8); cheese (8)
Shrug: tortilla (7); vegetables (7); ingredient mix (7); sauciness (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

It's not often when an eight-mustache element leads off one of our reviews, but Taq. San Jose's carnitas merits the attention. Overly soft, kind of fatty, and really quite greasy, it nevertheless proved itself exceptionally flavorful over this girthsome slab's long haul. Aggressive spice and truly on-point refried beans accompanied a strong temperature / burstage abatement foundation of nine-mustache success, but most of the rest of the burrito didn't quite match those high points: The whatever tortilla, rice-heavy ingredient mix, and merely-happy-to-be-there veggie contingent only vaguely impressed our grumpy panel. But given that this foiled effort ratcheted up two bonus mustaches for intangibility, we were clearly OK with how things turned out in the end. Alright.

09/18/11Super Pollo Adobo$8.078.75 Mustaches
Swish: size (9); tortilla (9); beans (9); sauciness (9); spiciness (9); ingredient mix (9); temperature (9); burstage abatement (9); meat (8); cheese (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: rice (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)

With no ten-mustache element ratings to its credit — but a full smorgasbord of nines on hand — Taq. San Jose’s latest trip up our mustachioed flagpole was by far its highest climb ever. This extra-burly slab started out ordinarily enough...even sub-ordinarily, what with its top-end seepage and early drips. Its brilliantly grilled tortilla, however, hinted at all the heavy mustaches lurking within: strongly flavorful refried beans, ever-enduring sauciness, gracefully hellacious spice, and an ingredient mix so seamless that a tailor wouldn’t know where to start biting. Also: many hot bites, reliably sturdy construction, onions!, avocado slices here and there, and more intangible charm than the girl next door (assuming the girl next door isn't an old crank). The lavishly sauced grilled chicken did a spot-on imitation of pastor, but we verified its true poultry identity repeatedly throughout. And even if the rice was simply happy to be there, it caused no irreparable harm, unlike almost every Taq. San Jose burrito that preceded this major winner.

10/16/08Super Chile Relleno$7.997.81 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); cheese (9); ingredient mix (9); size (8); rice (8); beans (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: sauciness (7); tortilla (6); spiciness (6); burstage abatement (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)

Our excursion into the meatless realm of Taq. San Ho’s burrito menu may have short-circuited somewhat on intangible allure, but we can’t grouse too much since this turned out to be San Jose’s highest rated effort on Burritoeater record, to date. Fairly sized, and both heated and mixed to please, our dinner fell prey to a drab, clearly ungrilled tortilla and a floppy construction aesthetic that seemed to say, Hey look at me, I’m an edible Weeble Wobble. As is invariably the case with all these chile relleno burritos on today’s market, there was no shortage of cheese on hand here; the relleno itself was hardly spectacular - its batter-shell looked a bit on the tired side - but it managed to convey that certain emotional clarity that can only come from a deep-fried, cheese-stuffed vegetable. And the spice! Really quite ordinary spice this time at Taq. San Jose.

06/05/06Super al Pastor$6.387.00 Mustaches
Swish: temperature (10); size (9); tortilla (9); cheese (9); rice (8); vegetables (8)
Shrug: beans (7); spiciness (7); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: meat (5); burstage abatement (5); sauciness (1)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)

This foiled lunch was such a sopping greasefest, we were stunned it didn’t come with a complimentary lube, oil, and filter. Not only that, but this was the first time we’d ever downrated a burrito for being too spicy. What other choice did our panel have, as the medley of hot sauce and pickled jalapeño/carrot slices managed to douse most every other ingredient in a violent, flaming greasefire. The main culprit here was clearly Taq. San Jose’s al pastor – between its unparalleled production of residue-moisture and all the 666-mustache spice, we’ll never really know how the rest of the burrito tasted. We did, however, manage to taste the barbecued pork on its own. Verdict: not so great - kind of greasy, actually. Prior to it turning into a grease-sponge, the tortilla was a finely grilled specimen. Before too long, however, this burrito’s largess began to work against it. We finished it, of course, but this wasn’t just lunch - this was an endurance test, lassoed by liquid lameness.

02/03/05Breakfast (Ham)$4.387.06 Mustaches
Short, stout, and flaming hot to the touch, which is really all you can ask for at 9:30 in the blessed A.M. The pig’s share of this burrito’s flavor came from the ham, and its eggs made a fine, well-cooked showing in their own right. Problem was, this was perhaps the most de-sauced burrito – breakfast or otherwise – in recent memory, to the point where the oddball inclusion of rice (in a breakfast burrito? Oh come on) became a crashing bummer without any sauce to play with. Scattered spice courtesy of chopped green pepper and some nicely melted cheese prevented a total crapout.
12/08/03Super Carne Asada$4.386.77 Mustaches
You’d think that with chewy, slightly fatty steak, globby moments of semi-melted cheese, and a dismaying lack of spice all taking their turns, this entry would have been a total train wreck. Not so. Exceptionally tasty sauciness helped save the day. Remember the grading system in the early years of elementary school? This burrito got a limp-wristed “S,” for satisfactory.
03/15/03Super Carne Asada$4.387.50 Mustaches
Surprisingly light on spice, considering all the pickled-looking peppers they place on the table here. Well, that's not really a true indicator, but you'd think. Okay, the dog ate our notes on this one.