cross street: 22nd St.
Map Visits: 5
Shrug: tortilla (7); beans (7); cheese (7); size (6); rice (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: vegetables (5); sauciness (3); spiciness (3)
Intangibility bonus: 0 (of 2)
Not much went right on El Metate’s 2011 journey through our critical mustache mill. The cavalcade of disappointment kicked off with this sad burrito’s unnaturally slender dimensions, and things just took a downhill slide from there. Who’s up for some overly creamy guacamole? Not us. How about some dry Spanish rice? Nah, it’s cool. Thanks, though. Anyone for a woeful dearth of salsa and spice thrills? We’ll pass. The OK-enough tortilla, peripheral melted cheese, and shrugariffic refried beans each planted a flag atop our seven-mustache hill, and the flavorful steak was indeed the star ingredient here. But fully absent intangibility? Going once...going twice... Maybe next time.
Shrug: rice (7); burstage abatement (7); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
This burrito's fortunes started awkwardly – top-end burstage is no way to get things going when you’re a taqueria trying to climb out of a 6.71 OMR hole after three visits – but fortunately for all involved, things calmed down before long. Interestingly, no element earned a perfect ten, but other than some clumsy construction and a sometimes difficult ingredient mix, we were dutifully impressed by the care El Metate’s kitchen put into this winning dinner. Long and slender, and sporting a marvelously grilled (if unnecessarily ingrown) tortilla, there was much to appreciate here, from the melted cheese and sharp sauciness (a constant positive) on through the subtly buoyant vegetable ensemble. In-slab spicing was fairly fierce as well, and we totally dug how El Metate’s refrieds split the difference between bean and paste so gracefully. And now, a couple words about the pastor: deliciously roasty. Well, there you have it. Damn fine food. Mighty tasty.
Shrug: size (7); rice (7); vegetables (7); tortilla (6); meat (6)
Clang: cheese (5); spiciness (5); ingredient mix (5)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
Although this long, yet slender effort clearly had some shortcomings, we doled out a bonus mustache in recognition of...we’re not quite sure what. Some sort of intangible something-or-other. But this burrito needed a little boost, since a few of its tangible elements came up well short of respectable. Most troubling was the ingredient mix, which not only denied many components the opportunity to intermingle, but bunched most of the chicken together down at the hind end. Despite a number of warm bites throughout, a dangerously high percentage of jack cheese grates remained unmelted. El Metate continued its disturbing penchant for skimping on the meat, and spice was safety-first all the way. Sauciness didn’t go overboard – rather, it found a nice level and stuck with it. Construction was solid, though it suffered from a bit of a loose wrap. Meanwhile, the chewy tortilla’s stickiness suggested it had spent the afternoon at the sauna.