cross street: 23rd St.
Map Visits: 4
Shrug: rice (7); tortilla (6); meat (6); beans (6); sauciness (6)
Clang: temperature (5); spiciness (4); cheese (3)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Usually when a slab brings forth a nine-mustache ingredient mix, it’s a likely indicator that good times are ahead at the taqueria. But leave it to one of San Francisco’s most underachieving burrito producers to undercut itself once again. Dry, tough, and overly charred chicken acted as a glum centerpiece here, but what really did this burrito in was its complete aversion to hot bites. Every single bite: lukewarm. Every single one. InvisiCheese™ was also in mostly full effect, and spice was mostly a rumor throughout. Drab refried beans combined with a surprisingly mushy set of Spanish rice – regularly La Corneta’s strong suit – to let us down further. The fajitafying grilled vegetables on hand, bell pepper and long-sliced onion, played at a high level top to bottom, and the slab was built to last. But pretty tiled floors and terrific pico de gallo can take a taqueria only so far in this town.
Shrug: rice (7); vegetables (7); burstage abatement (7); tortilla (6); meat (6)
Clang: ingredient mix (5); cheese (3); temperature (3); beans (2); sauciness (2)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)
Well, that sure sucked a whole bunch. Given the myriad ingredient glitches this travesty-in-foil forced our willing judges panel to endure, it’s no wonder its OMR was the lowest our burrichter scale recorded since Tango 20!’s mercifully brief reign of slab-terror in the summer of 2005. Guilty as charged: a set of fully molé-less chicken molé (we’re not kidding); two or maybe three refried beans, and no more; sauciness that was apparently lounging on a beach in the Caribbean when it should have been in a tray behind La Corneta’s service counter; more unmelted grates of jack cheese than any self-respecting burrito shop should ever foist upon a consumer; an ingredient mix only a lunkheaded stooge could appreciate; and most egregiously, jarringly chilly slab-wide temperatures that even the 47 layers of foil sheathing the limply steamed tortilla couldn’t help out of the winter gutter. The dry, unaccompanied, and awkward chunks of chicken were a particularly weird addition, as it was around the fifth bite when we realized, Hey, didn’t we order chicken molé? Everything seemed overly dense - as if the ingredients had been vacuum-packed - and the way the foil spun itself well into the tortilla’s hind end was kind of galling. La Corneta’s usually terrific rice didn’t impress us this time, either, and we’ll blame the lack of sauce for that. At least it was a well-spiced blimp, although even that smacked of the taqueria equivalent of that old cologne-in-lieu-of-a-shower stunt: Crank up the spice, they won’t notice how lame the rest of it is! Zero bonus mustaches in the intangibility column? Guess what? We noticed.