cross street: 18th St.
Map Visits: 5
Shrug: size (7); tortilla (7); rice (7); sauciness (7); meat (6); vegetables (6); ingredient mix (6)
Clang: spiciness (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
With zero outstanding ingredients on hand — although even the most critical burritoeater couldn’t have found fault with this narrow scud’s temperature and burstage abatement talents — El Buen Sabor’s latest effort was destined from the get-go to land squarely in our soggy meadow of mediocrity. Spiciness remained laughably tame all the time, and the iffy guac and middling intangibility got (and kept) us down throughout. The inglorious ingredient mix, which sprung forth too much rice while rendering the otherwise quite good refried beans moot until the burrito’s latter third, was equaled in its six-mustache-ness by the soft and mushy carnitas...and that’s sure not how carnitas is supposed to be. Further rice complaint: It was overcooked! Come on! Although to be fair, it was at least nice and moist. Melted cheese remained a highly respected contributor all slab long, but it takes a hell of a lot more than that to get our panel’s attention at this point.
Shrug: meat (7)
Clang: no elements clanged
Intangibility bonus: 2 (of 2)
No other burrito-eating panel in town enjoys a nice comeback story like ours does. So imagine our glee when this egg-laden slab’s cavalcade of nine-mustache element ratings sent Taq. Good Flavor’s long run of misflavor packing. Not only was it a veritable veggie bonanza — avocado! jalapeño! fresh pico de gallo! — but between the capable egg/chorizo collaboration and all the melted Jack cheese, this was pretty much a complaint-free meal. Wonderfully gloopy refried beans took advantage of the absence of rice to play an early leading role, while the overall ingredient mix and proportionality had hell-yeah written all over it. Temperature and construction were crucially on-the-money — if they weren’t, surely we wouldn’t be threatening to bestow Comeback Taqueria of the Year honors on the place. Spiciness remained nicely burly top to bottom, and if intangibility wasn’t up to Everest-like altitudes, it was at least around Shasta. Hoorays aplenty.
Shrug: meat (7); beans (7); vegetables (7); spiciness (7); ingredient mix (6); temperature (6)
Clang: rice (5); cheese (4)
Intangibility bonus: 1 (of 2)
This lengthy, foiled torpedo’s finest moments came courtesy of its meat-and-refried-bean bites. Elsewhere, glory was conspicuously absent, and we’ll point the finger of blame straight at that creepy flavor-removal machine in the back corner of El Buen Sabor’s kitchen. The last time we had Spanish rice this bland...well, come to think of it, we’ve rarely had Spanish rice this bland. A lack of flavorful punch was, sadly, a recurring theme here, as the nicely grilled chicken could have used some additional seasoning. Bigger gripes centered around all the unmelted grates of jack cheese, the suspiciously creamy “guacamole,” and because we get a kick out of harping on the obvious, all that damned rice. The rice also hogged way too much space within the politely grilled tortilla, resulting in a compromised ingredient mix that could have been worse, were it not for some smartly distributed vegetables. A perfect burstage abatement rating was averted late, due to an unattractive guaca-cream bleed that forced us to reach for an extra napkin or two, and hey look, a duck!